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In the news: Ruling party candidate wins Burundi election

The main opposition party is expected to dispute the provisional results.

Evariste Ndayishimiye, pictured at a 27 April campaign rally, secured almost 70 percent of the vote in Burundi's presidential election. (Evrard Ngendakumana/REUTERS)

Burundi’s ruling party candidate appears on course to win a sweeping election victory, according to provisional results from last week's presidential vote that are likely to be contested by the main opposition party.

Evariste Ndayishimiye secured almost 70 percent of the vote, the government’s electoral commission announced Monday, with the opposition CNL party winning just over 24 percent. The final results are expected to be published on 4 June.

The election was marred by allegations of fraud, with international observers forced to respect a 14-day coronavirus quarantine, opposition supporters arrested, and ruling party members spotted voting multiple times.

CNL leader Agathon Rwasa believes his party won the polls and has said the public will not accept a “stolen” vote, raising fears of a new political crisis in the small East African nation.

More than 1,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced to neighbouring countries when President Pierre Nkurunziza won a disputed third term in office five years ago, sparking mass protests, an attempted coup, and a bloody crackdown.

Ndayishimiye is seen as a reformist candidate by some diplomats and analysts, but critics doubt he will be able to halt the ruling party’s authoritarian drift, and break free from Nkurunziza and other powerful military generals.

Read our latest on what the elections mean for Burundi, and the humanitarian challenges facing the next leader. 

– Philip Kleinfeld

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