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Burundi Backs New Constitution Extending Presidential Term Limits IDOLLY YOl








Burundi backs new constitution extending presidential term limits

Voters in Burundi have backed constitutional amendments that could potentially allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to stay in office until 2034 as well as boost his powers. Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, election commission chief, said 73 percent of voters had voted "Yes" in the referendum to change the constitution, including whether the current five-year-presidential terms will be increased to seven years. No change to the limit of two terms in office was proposed.

Nineteen percent voted "No", with a turnout of 96 percent. More than five million people had registered to vote in the referendum on May 17, according to officials. The new document also scraps one of the country's two constitutionally enshrined vice presidents and shift a number of powers away from the government to the president.

Before the vote, the opposition had decried it as an undemocratic foregone conclusion. On Saturday, Agathon Rwasa, head of the Amizero y'Abarundi bloc and one of the few opposition leaders still in the country, alleged that government forces had arrested perceived opponents ahead of the ballot and threatened to assassinate those who voted against amending the constitution. "We will not accept the outcome of this referendum because it is a fantasy," he said.


Olaleye Anuoluwapo

Olaleye Anuoluwapo

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