Burundi’s election commission declared the governing party’s candidate, Evariste Ndayishimiye, the winner of the country’s presidential election that took place on Wednesday, May 20.
Ndayishimiye was picked by the governing National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party to succeed outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza, whose controversial decision to seek a third term in the last election in 2015 sparked mass unrest, violence and an opposition boycott.
According to the commission on Monday, Ndayishimiye, won 68.72 percent of the total votes in last week’s ballot, while Agathon Rwasa, the main opposition leader, received 24.19 percent.
However, spokesman for the opposition National Freedom Council, Therence Manirambona, stated that the party boycotted the announcement of results as it could not “back this farce”, repeating allegations of “massive fraud” during Wednesday’s election and the counting process.
“We have all the evidence and the real figures of these elections. We will seek justice,” Manirambona told the German news agency dpa.
Before the officials results came in, Rwasa had already alleged foul play, saying early numbers showing his CNL party heading for a bruising defeat were a “fantasy”.
Despite all these, the commission chairman, Pierre Claver Kazihise, described the turnout (87.7 percent of registered voters turning out to cast their ballots in last week’s elections), as “massive” and said the polling, which also included the election of members of parliament and local officials, was peaceful.
First democratic transfer in 58 years
The May 20 vote, which was contested by seven presidential hopefuls, is meant to usher in the first democratic transfer of power in 58 years of independence.
Meanwhile, Ndayishimiye is expected to be sworn in for a seven-year term in late August, when Nkurunziza’s term ends.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES