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Burundi - election

Burundi ruling party picks leader Ndayishimiye as candidate

File photo of General Evariste Ndayishimiye, who is Burundi's  CNDD-FDD ruling party presidential candidate for the upcoming May elections.
File photo of General Evariste Ndayishimiye, who is Burundi's CNDD-FDD ruling party presidential candidate for the upcoming May elections. STR / AFP
2 min

At an extraordinary ruling party congress on Sunday, President Pierre Nkurunziza’s CNDD-FDD party announced that the party leader and presidential crony General Evariste Ndayishimiye would stand as candidate for the upcoming presidential elections in May.

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"Gen Evariste Ndayishimiye chosen to represent the CNDD-FDD at the 2020 presidential election," the party tweeted.

Nkurunziza said he would not run for yet another term after his controversial third term election in 2015 created a political crisis in the country.

People came out to the streets to protest after that election, as a violent security crackdown killed 1,200 people and caused 400,000 to be displaced.

The International Criminal Court even carried out a post-election violence investigation for the large number of murders, rapes, torture and forced disappearances.

The president’s three terms have been marred by allegations of human rights abuses and brutal suppression.

Technically he would have been able to stay in as president until 2034, but said two years ago he would not stand again for the top office.

He even alluded to this in his announcement that the news on Sunday would be "the beginning of a new page in the history of Burundi and the CNDD-FDD party".

Candidate Ndayishimiye, 52, is no stranger Burundian politics he has previously served as interior minister, security minister, and head of the president’s civilian and military cabinet.

He was one of the signers of the ceasefire agreement in 2003 that ended the civil war.

It is not apparent yet whether Nkurunziza will remain behind the scenes in the Burundian political world; but he reportedly plans to stay in the country, living in his new luxury villa, with his end-of-mandate payment of some 500,000 euros as well as his salary, to be paid out for the rest of his life, according to a new law.

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