Burundi delays district polls to Sunday


Burundi has pushed back district elections to Sunday from today to allow for the distribution of more voter cards and resolving problems with some ballot papers, the national electoral commission said.

The poll is the first of a series in which the tiny central African nation will vote for representatives to parliament and its next president.

District elections are often an indicator of how the rest of the vote will go. A political party that gets over 50 % of the votes in the communal election in the first round is likely to win the presidential and parliamentary poll.

Some 3.5 million registered voters were due to vote today.
“The delay of the vote was partly motivated by logistical problems related to the casting cards of political parties and independent candidates,” Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, chairman of the national independent electoral commission (CENI), told reporters yesterday.
“There was confusion in the production and packaging of the … cards for two political parties which bear almost the same name. One of the party found itself with a huge number of cards, the other one was in deficit.”

The coffee-growing nation of 8 million people will hold a presidential poll on June 28. The parliamentary vote is due on July 23, and one for senators on July 28.

The electoral process will end with local elections to be held separately in September.

The elections are a test of the landlocked country’s stability. It has enjoyed relative peace since the last Hutu rebel group, the Forces for National Liberation (FNL) accepted last year to lay down weapons and joined the government.

The FNL appears to be a competitor to the ruling CNDD-FDD party of incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Source: www.af.reuters.com