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Bishops question reliability of Burundi poll

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The council of Burundi’s Catholic bishops says its observers noticed irregularities in last week’s general election that put the reliability of the results into question.

In an audio announcement, the council said its more than 2,700 observers deployed to polling stations around the country witnessed incidents of:

  • multiple voting
  • voting for dead people and refugees
  • voters being forced to choose certain candidates
  • unauthorised people involved in vote counting

On Monday, the electoral commission announced that Evariste Ndayishimiye of the governing CNDD-FDD party won the presidential election.

It said he took 68% of the vote, according to preliminary results.

Opposition candidate Agathon Rwasa came second with 24%.

“We deplore many irregularities against freedom, electoral transparency and equity in treatment of candidates and voters,” the bishops’ council said through its leader Joachim Ntahondereye.

“Vis-à-vis these irregularities and many more, we ask ourselves how reliable are the results to be proclaimed?”

Burundi’s electoral commission has said the poll was democratically conducted.

Mr Rwasa, who rejected the poll results, has told the BBC he will file an election petition at the constitutional court before the deadline on Wednesday.

Final results are expected to be announced on 4 June. The winner is set to become president on 20 August.

The new president will replace Pierre Nkurunziza who has led the country since 2005.

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