Burundi. According to COUNTRYAAH, Burundi has a population of 11.18 million (2018). A number of general elections were held during the year. The hope was that the elections would strengthen democracy and consolidate the fragile peace of recent years. Instead, the political contradictions were sharply sharpened and the country appeared to be at risk of a new civil war.
In January, 13 soldiers were arrested accused of forging dome plans. During the winter and spring, a series of clashes between opposition and security forces took place, and during the run-up to the general elections, hundreds of supporters were arrested for opposition parties. Foreign thought media called on the authorities to restore the order, and the head of Human Rights Watch was expelled after alleging that both the CNDD-FDD government party and the opposition party FNL were behind the violence. African Union Commission President Jean Ping expressed his strong concern over the situation.
The CNDD-FDD was reported to have won a superior victory in the local elections in May, but the opposition claimed that there was serious cheating and demanded re-election, which was not granted. A few weeks before the presidential election, the four opposition leaders withdrew their candidacies in protest that the members of the electoral commission had not been replaced. Shortly thereafter, the two main opposition men, including the FNL’s Agathon Rwasa, fled abroad claiming that they feared for their lives. The election was conducted with the incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza as the only candidate. Most opposition parties then boycotted the elections to both parliament’s chambers, with the result that the CNDD-FDD gained an overwhelming majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
FNL leader Rwasa was later dismissed in his absence as leader of FNL. Party members dismissed the extra-long Congress as a scam staged by the Home Office, which was accused of allowing a regime-led phalanx, mostly made up of young people, to infiltrate the party.
During the fall, sporadic fire fighting and civilian killings continued north of the capital Bujumbura, as did the arrests of oppositionists. The UN also found the conditions “extremely worrying”.