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Winning the legislature, former rebels vow to negotiate peace

One of the former rebel groups during Burundi’s recent civil war has won most of the votes in the legislative elections and pledged on Wednesday to enter into talks with the sole rebel force still fighting the government, the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL) led by Agathon Rwasa.

"We will negotiate immediately with the Palipehutu-FNL," Jeremie Ngendakumana, spokesman for the winning Conseil National pour la défense de la démocratie-Forces pour la défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD) party of Pierre Nkurunziza, said in Bujumbura.

"The CNDD-FDD had previously been in the bush then agreed to take part in the government; now the FNL could do the same," Ngendakumana said.

Provisional results announced on Wednesday by the chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Paul Ngarambe, show that the CNDD-FDD won between 60 percent and 70 percent of the vote. The party of current President Domitien Ndayizeye, the Front pour la démocratie au Burundi, or FRODEBU, came second followed by the Parti de unite pour le progres national, or UPRONA. Ngarambe said the CNDD faction led by Léonard Nyangoma came fourth and the Movement pour la restoration de lacitoyenneté, fifth.

The FNL did not take part in Monday's elections. However, unlike municipal elections in June, its combatants did not attack voting stations, the Collective of Human Rights Associations said on Wednesday. The collective also called on FNL leaders to continue to negotiate with the government.

The FNL signed a ceasefire agreement on 15 May in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, but its fighters have been accused of continuing to mount attacks, mostly in the province around Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura

FNL spokesman Pasteur Habimana told a local radio station on Wednesday that his group had "deep concerns" about the Dar es Salam agreement because government troops were attacking FNL positions.

Habimana also expressed ambivalence about Monday’s elections. "We are accustomed to seeing parties win elections but not respecting the law," he said.

A representative of the party of former Burundian President Jean Baptiste Bagaza, the Parti pour le redressement national, Zenon Nimubona, said Monday’s elections were "peppered with fraud". That, he added, was the reason his party was unlikely to win a parliamentary seat.

The Coallition de la Societé civile pour le Supervision des élections-COSOME, a poll monitoring group, said there were some irregularities but that overall the elections were fair.

Senatorial elections are due on 29 July. Then on 19 August, the newly-elected senators, together with the newly-elected assemblymen, will choose the country's new head of state.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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