Burundi’s ruling party candidate, Evariste Ndayishimiye, wins presidential election

File: Burundi President Elect Evariste Ndayishimiye, attends a rally ahead of the referendum in Bujumbura, Burundi May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana/File Photo

Evariste Ndayishimiye, a retired general, is the apparent winner in Burundi’s presidential election held last week.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza (R, front) and Evariste Ndayishimiye (L, front), presidential candidate and secretary general of the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDDD-FDD) of Burundi, attended a campaign rally in Gitega, central Burundi, April 27, 2020. (Photo by Evrard Ngendakumana/Xinhua)

Ndayishimiye, the ruling party’s candidate, secured 68.72% of the vote, the electoral commission said on Monday.

According to partial results compiled by AFP covering 105 communes, Mr. Ndayishimiye obtained an absolute majority of the votes in 101 communes. In the four communes where he was defeated, he never received less than 43% of the vote. He obtains at least 70% of the votes in 66 communes and more than 50% in 35 others.

Mr. Ndayishimye defeated six challengers in the race to succeed current president, Pierre Nkurunziza.  Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005, decided not to stand for a fourth term. Ndayishimiye had been dubbed as Nkurunziza’s “heir”.

The main opposition candidate, Agathon Rwasa, president of the National Council for Liberty (CNL), has already accused the government of “cheating” and “pure manipulation”, saying the results were “fanciful”. However he also says he has no plans to protest the results at this time and would settle for an appeal to Burundi’s Constitutional Court.

Ndayishimiye is expected to be sworn in for a seven-year term in late August when Nkurunziza’s term ends.

The May 20th election could potentially be Burundi’s first democratic transfer of power in its 58-year-history.