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Burundian Constitutional Court Endorses Constitutional Referendum Results

The Burundian Constitutional Court Thursday endorsed the results of a constitutional referendum, which will extend the presidential term from five years to seven years and allow the president to serve two consecutive terms.

The Electoral Commission of Burundi announced last Monday that 73.26% of the eligible voters approved a new constitution in May 17’s referendum. The results had been submitted to the Constitutional Court for endorsement and publishing the final results.

The final results show that the amendments to the constitution were approved by a vote of 73.24% in the referendum while citizens who rejected the draft constitution accounted for 19.37%, President of the Constitutional Court Charles Ndagijimana said at the court headquarters in northern Bujumbura, capital city of Burundi.

Invalid votes accounted for 4.1% and abstentions accounted for 3.27%, said Ndagijimana.

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“No major irregularities that could influence the poll results were found during the analysis of the report sent by the National Independent Electoral Commission,” he said.

The court therefore considers that the constitutional referendum took place in accordance with Burundian laws, he said.

The court president also said the complaint made by the opposition coalition Burundians’ Hope over the regulations and the results of the vote was found groundless.

Under the new constitution, President Pierre Nkurunziza, who has served three terms since 2005, can stay in office until 2034 if he is elected.

The new constitution also creates the post of prime minister and cuts the number of vice presidents from two to one. According to the new constitution, the prime minister is to be designated from the ruling party, while the vice president will come from a different party.

Burundi plunged into a crisis in April 2015 when Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial bid for a third term. His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition, resulted in a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup in May 2015.

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Written by PH

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