Country Closeup: Burundi

On 25 April 2015, The National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Front for the Defense of Democracy announced that President Pierre Nkurunziza would run for the 26 June election for Burundi’s highest political office. Protests raged for three weeks in the capital of Bujumbura, as critics noted that President Nkurunziza’s bid for office would be a third term, a direct violation of the constitution and peace accord which was established at the end of the civil war. Those in favour of the President’s action differentiated the manner in which President Nkurunziza was elected, given that his first term was certified by a vote of the Parliament and not by general election.
 
The National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Front for the Defense of Democracy claimed that protests were centred on reignited ethnic tensions of Tutsi ethnic groups. Protesters of both Hutu and Tutsi tribes remarked the potential third-term for President Nkurunziza was disrespect for the 2005 peace accord. After two weeks of protest, the Major General Godefroid Niyombare issued a coup d’état on 13 May 2015 while President Nkurunziza was called as Head of State to the 13th Extraordinary Summit of the East African Community in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
 
The attempt failed as the government retook control a day later, subsequently arresting the central organisation of the coup. Elections for the National Assembly, Presidential office, and Senate were scheduled for 29 June, 21 July, and 24 July 2015, respectively. The National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Front for the Defense of Democracy won in all contests. Pierre Nkurunziza won the presidential election with 69.41% of the votes.

The offices of the President, Senate, and National Assembly of Burundi are expected to have their next elections in 2020. The country is classified as ‘low-income’ by World Bank indicators, including a rather low life expectancy (compared to Sub-Saharan African figures), statistical capacity, and GNI per capita. The country’s focus in the short and medium-term must be solving legitimate development challenges and not allowing historic, ethnic tensions to play a role in the political discourse at the office of the President, the National Assembly, and the Senate. Although the violence continues today, poverty-reduction strategies are the key to overcoming historical and political challenges, providing stability and a prosperous future to a country with enormous potential. 
 

Founded in 2000, the Parliamentary Network is an independent, non-governmental organization that provides a platform for Parliamentarians from over 140 countries to advocate for increased accountability and transparency in development cooperation. Jeremy Lefroy is the current Chair of the Parliamentary Network.

 

The Network – via its international secretariat, regional chapters and country chapters – reaches over 1000 Parliamentarians in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. It strives to increase transparency and accountability in the development cooperation process by fostering the oversight role of parliaments and civil society. The Network has a specific focus on multilateral aid and a sub-focus on the work and modus operandi of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the world’s largest multilateral funders.

 

It provides a platform for MPs and civil society to hold to account their own governments, as well as International Financial Institutions (IFIs), for development outcomes.

Membership is free of charge and open to elected parliamentarians who currently hold a mandate. As a member, you will receive The Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s policy materials, including the quarterly Network Review publication and the Parliamentarians and Development series.

You will also be eligible to attend the Annual Conference and participate in discussions with senior World Bank and IMF leadership. You can also be invited to take part in the Parliamentarians in the Field country visit programme.
In addition, the The Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund often invites partner organizations to join its activities.
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