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Burundi opposition files election petition


Burundian opposition leader Agathon Rwasa filed on Thursday a case at the constitutional court challenging the May 20 presidential election outcome, saying he had evidence of fraud.

Burundi’s election commission said on Monday the ruling party candidate, retired General Evariste Ndayishimiye, had won the presidential election with 69% of votes cast.

It said Rwasa had garnered 24% of the vote.

The commission’s Chairman Pierre Claver Kazihise said the turnout had been huge and the election was peaceful.

“Appalling errors were made across the country, no district or province was spared. We have provided evidence that there has been a massive fraud,” Rwasa told reporters after filing his complaint.

“The announced results are false.”

He said the court had eight days to decide the case.

The May 20 vote to replace President Pierre Nkurunziza, however, had been preceded by political violence including the arrest, torture and murder of opposition activists, according to a local rights group.

There was also controversy over holding the election during the coronavirus crisis.

Hundreds of Burundians were killed and hundreds of thousands exiled after unrest surrounding the last election in 2015, when the opposition accused Nkurunziza of violating a peace deal by running for a third term.

Rwasa said the evidence in his filing showed that people had voted using dead voters’ identities and use of an electoral register which has never been published by the electoral body and ballot box stuffing.

The Conference of Bishops of Burundi on Tuesday also criticised the election conduct, saying some parties’ observers had been chased from polling stations.

The electoral body’s officials were not immediately reachable to comment on Rwasa’s complaints.

Five other candidates also stood in the polls, in which 5.11 million registered voters were eligible to participate.


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