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Similarly to the local elections held a month before the Presidential poll, the opposition to incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza boycotted the elections, citing fraud and intimidation by the ruling party. With the boycott, the election threatened to lack credibility and legitimacy, with Nkurunziza as the sole candidate. Consequently, the country's electoral commission attempted to frame the poll as a referendum in which the electorate would choose to endorse or reject Nkurunziza's Presidency.
Unsurprisingly, the noncompetitive nature of the poll meant that Nkurunziza won 92% of the poll. However, with the opposition boycott and a low voter turnout, the result lacks the legitimacy that was hoped for in Burundi's first direct Presidential vote.
Parliamentary Election Results
Number of seats
% Total seats
National Council for the Defence of Democracy – Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD - FDD)
Union for National Progress (Uprona)
Front for Democracy in Burundi (Frodebu)
*An additional three seats were added in order to comply with the electoral code in the Constitution.
Following a boycotted Presidential election by the opposition, it was hoped that Burundi's series of elections, designed to test its fragile democracy, would gain some credibility through a free and fair Parliamentary poll. This, however, was not the case, as the majority of the opposition, including the Forces for National Liberation (FNL), boycotted the vote, citing electoral fraud and intimidation committed by the ruling National Council for the Defence of Democracy - Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD - FDD), prior to local elections in May.
As predicted, the CNDD-FDD won 81,19% of the vote translating into 80 seats. The Union for National Progress (Uprona) won 11,06% (16 seats), and the Front for Democracy in Burundi (Frodebu) won 5,88% with four seats. An additional three seats were awarded to each of the parties which competed to comply with the electoral code in the country's constitution, which requires that 60 seats be reserved for Hutus and 40 for Tutsis. And the extra three seats are reserved for the Twa minority. At least one third of the Parliamentary seats are reserved for women.
Implications of the Election
With Burundi's violent past, postelection unrest is a strong possibility, especially given the strong opposition boycott and the subsequent perceived lack of credibility of the recent polls. The country has only recently emerged from conflict, and runs the risk of being plunged into a situation similar to its violent past based on its lack of democratic experience and conflict still fresh in the minds of many of the political parties.
With Nkurunziza winning the Presidential election, and his party, the CNDD-FDD, securing a majority in Parliament, Burundian politics is set to be dominated by a single party. Although much of the international community validated the vote and declared it free of any major irregularities, the perception among the opposition in Burundian society is that it was unfair.
Currently, Burundi is on high alert after threats from militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab, after threats on the country as a result of its role in the peacekeeping mission in Somalia. It is also facing the domestic threat of returning to the violence that divided the country along Hutu and Ethnic lines. President Nkurunziza thus faces the difficult task of changing perceptions of the electorate to improve his credibility, as well as promoting national reconciliation to prevent another outbreak of violence characteristic of the country's past.