News and Information

Burundi peace poll postponed
October 15, 2004
Elections in Burundi, scheduled under a peace accord to take place by 1 November after years of civil war, have been postponed.

Mediating regional leaders, who met in Kenya, took the decision on advice from Burundi's electoral commission.

The timetable for a new constitution has slipped due to disputes over power sharing between the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority.

A referendum to agree the constitution was to be held before an election.

Alternate presidency

Heads of state from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia and South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma discussed a new election timetable with transitional Burundian President Domitien Ndayizeye.

"Based on the reality on the ground, the summit accepts that elections cannot take place before 1 November 2004," the leaders' communique said.

No new date has yet been announced.

Burundi soldier
Hutu rebels are to be integrated into the Tutsi-dominated military
Under a power-sharing deal signed in August, the Tutsi minority will have 40% of government and national assembly posts, compared to 60% for Hutus

This deal was intended to form the basis for the new constitution.

But the Tutsis want the presidency and vice presidency to alternate between the two communities.

Burundi's ambassador to Kenya, Stanislas Nsabuwanka, says another reason for the delay is the failure to find accommodation for many thousands of former Hutu rebels into the Tutsi-dominated army.

Some 300,000 people have been killed since the civil war broke out in 1993.

About 5,000 United Nations peacekeepers are in the country to support the South African-brokered peace process.


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