Burundi’s opposition asks court to reject referendum results

Burundi’s main opposition coalition asked the constitutional court on Thursday to invalidate the results of last week’s referendum on constitutional changes to allow the president to stay in power until 2034.

Amizeroy’ Abarundi’s leader of parliamentary group allege’s¬† that the vote was marred by intimidation and abuses.

Leader Pierre Celestin Ndikumana told reporters they were optimistic “considering the extent of the complaints.”

The government of Burundi did not immediately respond to the legal challenge.

On Monday the electoral commission said more than 73% of 4.7 million voters supported the constitutional amendments, which include extending the president’s term from five years to seven. This could give President Pierre Nkurunziza another 14 years in power when his current presidential term comes to an end at the end 2020.

The constitutional court still has validate the results of the May 17 referendum and they have five days to do so, the opposition has denounced this effort, as an effort they see by the 54-year-old Nkurunziza president to cling to power.

The court three years ago had already validated Nkurunziza’s third term, where the opposition and many international observers saw as unconstitutional.

After the ConCourt decision deadly political turmoil followed, with more than 1 200 people killed and hundreds of thousands fleeing the country.

International Criminal Court (ICC) judges last year ruled that an investigation into allegations of state-sponsored crimes, the decision did not make much of a difference after Burundi decided to withdraw from the ICC.

Observers before the referendum expressed alarm at reported violence and intimidation of perceived critics of the referendum, the opponents of the changes were allegedly threatened with drowning and castration.

After a presidential decree, it criminalized calls to abstain from voting, the consequence of not voting or calls to abstaining from voting could be three years in jail.

The government rejected all allegations of abuses, calling them propaganda by exiles.

Photo credit- Twitter

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