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Burundi - 2010 Elections

In 2010 the government held five separate elections: communal councils (May), presidential (June), National Assembly (July), Senate (July), and village councils (September). Voter turnout in the communal elections was more than 90 percent. Following the communal elections, a coalition of 12 parties withdrew and boycotted the remaining four elections. Following the withdrawal of the opposition coalition, the CNDD-FDDs presidential candidate, Pierre Nkurunziza, ran unopposed, and the CNDD-FDD won absolute majorities in the National Assembly and Senate.

The EUs Election Observation Mission, which monitored the five elections, noted that the presidential and communal council elections were largely peaceful and generally well managed by the Independent Electoral Commission. Nevertheless, the mission stated that the political and electoral environment was characterized by unfair use by the CNDD-FDD of government facilities and financial resources during the campaigns, the absence of pluralistic competition, and restrictions by the government and ruling party on the freedoms of political party expression and assembly of its competitors. Members of the youth wings of several rival political parties were the main perpetrators of intimidation and violence before, during, and after the elections.

Despite the validation of the 2010 elections by international observers and former rebels, some political leaders contested the outcome of the presidential election and abandoned the peace accord signed in 2003. They have fled to the traditional safe haven in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to devise a new insurgency and violently claim that elections were fraudulently won.

In May 2012 Human Rights Watch released the report You Will Not Have Peace While You Are Living: The Escalation of Political Violence in Burundi. The report describes political killings in 2011, some by state agents and members of the ruling party and others by armed opposition groups, stemming from the 2010 elections. According to Human Rights Watch, the killings reflected widespread impunity, the inability of the state to protect its citizens, and an ineffective judiciary. The report also documented government attempts to restrict independent media and civil societys efforts to denounce the violence.

As of October 2013 the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) documented 34 cases of extrajudicial killings committed by police, the National Intelligence Service (SNR), military personnel, and local government officials; the OHCHR documented 30 cases in 2012 and 61 cases in 2011. Police were allegedly responsible for 23 of the 34 killings; the military for seven; local administrative officials three; and the SNR one. Investigations were opened in most cases, but perpetrators were tried and convicted in only three cases. Most of the victims were former or current members of the opposition National Liberation Front and other opposition parties.

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Page last modified: 13-12-2015 20:31:37 ZULU