Polls open in Burundi to elect replacement for Nkurunziza

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Voters in Burundi today Wednesday May 20 go out to choose the country’s new president, members of parliament and local officials in a key general election, tempered by the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak.

The election marks the country’s first step in moving away from President Pierre Nkurunziza’s 15-year reign, which has been marred by allegations of human rights abuses, and his controversial decision to seek a third term five years ago. His third term propelled the country into an economic crisis.

This time though the landlocked country will have Nkurunziza leave, but then he will gain an official title that makes him “supreme guide to patriotism”, once he steps down. Now, what are the stakes in this election?

More than five million people are eligible to cast ballots. And seven candidates are vying to succeed President Pierre Nkurunziza who is stepping down after 15 years in power.

There are real issues concerning this election. First, the polls are taking place despite the coronavirus pandemic. And most of the polls would be held behind closed doors.

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