Burundi: start of registration of voters for referendum

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The registration of voters for the constitutional referendum scheduled for May 2018 and challenged by the opposition began Thursday in Burundi and will last until February 17, announced the Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni).

“The meeting of this Thursday, February 8, is the start of the enlistment of voters. It will close on February 17, 2018 throughout the country. Enumerators will be in the centers and offices of registration every day from 7:30 to 17:30, even Saturdays and Sundays, “announced the president of the Ceni, Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, Thursday on the national radio.

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This registration on the electoral register also concerns Burundians who will become major in 2020 for the general elections scheduled that year, according to the Commission.

Ceni mobilized 11,583 enumerators to register the estimated 4.5 million voters, compared to 3.5 million registered by Ceni for the 2015 elections.

At the end of October, the government adopted a draft revision of the Constitution, submitted to a referendum, which would allow President Pierre Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005, to run for two terms of seven years from 2020.

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The entire Burundian opposition is standing up against a constitutional revision that “will sign the death” of the peace agreement signed in 2000 in Arusha, which paved the way for the end of the civil war (1993-2006) that made more than 300,000 dead.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has criticized the Burundian authorities’ continued willingness to reform the Constitution without considering the opposition’s views in a report to the 15-member Security Council.

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The announcement in April 2015 of the candidacy of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza for a third controversial mandate had opened a political crisis that has made at least 1,200 dead and more than 400,000 displaced.

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