By World News Report Bureau
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has decided to postpone to June 5 legislative and municipal polls originally slated for May 26, according to a Wednesday presidential decree.
“All Burundian citizens eligible by law are called to participate in municipal and parliamentary elections on June 5,” read the decree, which was signed by the Burundian leader.
The period allocated for campaigning will thus be extended to June 2, according to the decree.
The document, however, did not address whether the presidential elections, slated for June 26, would be held as scheduled.
Presidential adviser Willy Nyamitwe told reporters that the decision had come in response to recommendations made by the country’s official electoral commission and requests by the Burundian opposition and the international community.
Burundi has been rocked by protests since late April, when the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy named Nkurunziza – in power since 2005 – its candidate for June presidential polls.
The situation took a turn for the worse last week when a group of army generals staged a failed coup attempt against Nkurunziza while he was attending a regional summit in Tanzania.
Dozens have since been killed in clashes, prompting a number of regional leaders to ask for the vote to be postponed.
The country’s opposition says Nkurunziza does not have the right to seek a third term, citing Burundi’s constitution, which limits the number of terms a president can serve to two.
Burundi’s Constitutional Court, however, has ruled that a third-term bid by Nkurunziza would not violate the constitution.
The court ruled that, since he was elected in 2005 by parliament and not by a popular vote, Nkurunziza’s first stint in office should not be counted as a presidential term per se.