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Ireland Elections in Burundi: "a lot of irregularities", according to the Catholic Church

04:16  29 may  2020
04:16  29 may  2020 Source:   01net.com

Presidential election in Burundi against the backdrop of tensions and health crisis

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Electrices et électeurs font la queue devant un bureau de vote de Giteha, dans le centre du Burundi, pour l'élection présidentielle du 20 mai 2020 © - Voters and voters line up in front of a polling station in Giteha, in central Burundi, for the presidential election of May 20, 2020

The Catholic Church of Burundi denounced Tuesday evening "many irregularities" having affected the transparency and fairness of the general elections of May 20 which saw the victory, disputed by the opposition, of the candidate of the ruling party, General Évariste Ndayishimiye.

"We deplore many irregularities regarding the freedom and transparency of the electoral process as well as the fairness in the treatment of certain candidates and voters," said the president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi, Mgr. Joachim Ntahondereye.

For the church, "the abbot of yellow vests" is no longer a priest

 For the church, The abbot Francis Michel, resident of Planquay (Eure) has just lost all the rights specific to his state. In conflict with his hierarchy for years, he had made headlines in particular by celebrating an "anti-Macron" mass.

This position contrasts with a joint statement by diplomats stationed in Burundi published Wednesday which makes no allusion to possible irregularities and which only calls the opposition to privilege the legal remedies to contest the results.

These diplomats, including the ambassadors of Germany, Belgium, France, the European Union, or even the Chargé d'affaires of the United States, say they encourage "all the actors of the electoral process to preserve a peaceful climate ".

"In the collective interest, the group therefore urges all national actors to demonstrate responsibility and resolve any disputes that may arise from the electoral process through existing legal procedures," they add.

This press release is the result of a minimum consensus between those who wanted to congratulate the ruling party, the CNDD-FDD, and those who wanted to be more critical, a diplomatic source who requested anonymity told AFP.

Elections in Burundi: the leader of the opposition rejects the first "fanciful results"

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Above all, they wanted to send the message that they "will not support any party that wants to use violence", added this source.

Mgr Ntahondereye, who spoke in a sound recording transmitted to AFP on Tuesday evening by the communication services of the conference, drew up a long series of irregularities similar to those denounced by the party of the leader of the opposition, Agathon Rwasa, officially second in the presidential election.

The Catholic Church "deplores in particular the constraint exerted on certain agents to sign in advance the counting of the contents of the ballot boxes, the stuffing of certain ballot boxes, the vote in place of the deceased and refugees, the multiple and therefore invalid proxies, the fact that there were voters in some polling stations who voted more than once. "

It also denounces "the exclusion of agents and observers from the places where the votes are counted, the intimidation and the constraints exerted on certain voters by officials who accompanied them to the voting booths, the intrusion of unauthorized persons counting locations ".

Côte d'Ivoire: the pro-Gbagbo FPI calls on its militants to enlist en masse

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"Faced with these irregularities and many others, we wonder if they do not prejudice the (final) results to be proclaimed" on June 4 by the Constitutional Court, questioned the Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Catholic Church managed to deploy 2,716 observers on polling day and "although their number was lower than that of the polling stations, they were able to arrive in all the municipalities where they were deployed in targeted offices", a said Bishop Joachim Ntahondereye in his press release.

No observation mission of the United Nations or the African Union had been authorized by the Burundian government.

The Catholic Church is the first Church in the country, with a population of approximately 11 million.

On Monday, the Burundian electoral commission declared the candidate of the ruling party, Evariste Ndayishimiye, broad winner of the presidential election with 68.72% of the votes, far ahead of Agathon Rwasa (24.19%).

Mr. Rwasa's party, the National Council for Liberty (CNL) denounced "an electoral masquerade" and announced its intention to file an appeal before the Constitutional Court by Thursday.

If the opposition's appeal is rejected, Mr. Ndayishimiye will be invested in August for a term of seven years renewable once, at the end of the term of the outgoing president.

In 2015, the candidacy of President Pierre Nkurunziza for a controversial third mandate had plunged the country into a major political crisis, which killed at least 1,200 people and drove some 400,000 Burundians to exodus. He announced in 2018 that he would not be a candidate for his succession.

str-fal-cyb / stb

Ethiopia: showdown between the government and the State of Tigray over the elections .
© EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP Debretsion Gebremichael, the president of the Tigray People's Liberation Front speaks during the party congress on January 4 2020 in Mekelle (illustration image). The Tigray state in the north of the country says it will organize elections to elect a new parliament, despite the fact that the election has been postponed to the national level.

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