BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Results from Burundi’s presidential election will be announced Friday, with incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza expected to win a third term that his opponents allege is unconstitutional.
About 72 percent to 80 percent of the country’s 3.8 million voters cast ballots Tuesday, said electoral commission head Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye.
Violence on Monday night, as well as an opposition boycott, hindered turnout in the capital. Three people, including two police officers, were killed by gunfire in opposition strongholds.
Agathon Rwasa, the main opposition figure, said his attempts to campaign had been frustrated by the government, and the U.S. and Britain said the election was not credible due to the intimidation of Nkurunziza’s opponents.
The Coalition of Independence of Hope, which supports Rwasa, will reject the outcome, said Charles Nditije, who is part of the coalition.
More than 100 people have died in protests since April when the ruling party announced Nkurunziza would seek a third term. The demonstrations triggered an attempted coup in May that was quickly put down by forces loyal to Nkurunziza. Earlier this month, the government said it crushed a rebellion in northern Burundi, killing 31 insurgents and arresting 171 others.
Many fear that Nkurunziza’s efforts to stay in power to could bring renewed conflict in Burundi, which gained independence from Belgium in 1962. Since then, it has had four coups and a civil war that killed 250,000 people.
“The attitude of the government is pushing people to create a rebellion,” said Francis Nyamoya, secretary general of opposition party Movement For Solidarity and Democracy.
“If it is necessary, force will be used to push out Nkurunziza,” he said, adding that members of his party are being killed.
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