Monday, 1 June 2015

General Election in Burundi

The UK is not the only nation to have a general election this year, and I shall look at one or two other nations with general elections, and explain some of the situations in each of these nations.

Burundi, a small land-locked nation in the southern part of Africa, has a parliamentary election scheduled for Friday 5th June June.  This has already been postponed from 26th May due to civil unrest in the country, and there are calls to postpone the elections further.  The current unrest has been caused the announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza had announced his intention to stand for a prohibited third term in the Presidential elections at the end of June (the third term has now been adjudged constitutional).  This has caused rioting, and, following an attempted coup d’etat on 13th May, a hundred thousand have fled the country, causing a major humanitarian crisis.  Burundi is the fifth poorest nation in the world, densely populated, and its population has risen from eight million to ten million in the last six years.

There are 100 seats in the Parliament, and representatives are elected by the D’Hondt method, used in the UK for European elections, and elections to the Scottish Parliament, and the Welsh and London Assemblies, after constituency votes.

At the last election, the ruling National Council for the Defence of Democracy Forces for the Defence of Democracy (NCDDFDD) took 86 seats, with 17 of the remaining 23 going to the Union for National Progress.  The parties are divided roughly along tribal lines, with NCDDFDD being a Hutu party, and UNP for the Tutsi.  Further Members of Parliament are co-opted in to ensure that there is a 60/40 Hutu/Tutsi split, and that a 30% quote of female MPs is reached.

It remains to be seen if tomorrow’s elections will go ahead.  It seems certain that there will be quite a bit of trouble in this distressed country.

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