Burundi elections should enjoy ‘confidence of the people’

Burundi’s bishops have called for action to be taken to ensure the country’s elections take place safely.

In a statement issued in the aftermath of the departure from the country of constitutional court vice-president Sylvere Nimpagaritse, the bishops’ conference urged support for elections so the institutions of state could “enjoy the confidence of the people”.

“May all those charged with this responsibility do everything so that the elections take place in security, with freedom of movement for candidates and voters, in a competition that allows candidates equal opportunities to calmly present their platforms and manifestoes,” they said.

Mr Nimpagaritse left the country after the court, allegedly under governmental pressure, ruled that sitting President Pierre Nkurunziza could stand for a third presidential term, despite there being a constitutional ban on his doing so.

Since President Nkurunziza’s declaration that he would stand again, unrest has led to demonstrations being banned and thousands of refugees fleeing. The presidential election is set for June 26, a month after local elections.