The final results of Burundi’s presidential election will be announced today, several weeks after the ruling CNDD-FDD party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye was controversially declared victorious by the country’s electoral commission.
The leftist opposition National Freedom Council (CNL)—which garnered a meagre 24% of the vote per official figures—claims that it actually seized a 58% majority and that the results were prefabricated in a massive instance of voter fraud. Experts insist a similar sentiment is reflected within the general Burundian population, as the vote transpired without international observation and amid reports of public censorship, brutality and repression directed at opposition figures.
Protests over the alleged rigging could spark violence akin to that which followed former president Pierre Nkurunziza’s highly contested third-term re-election in 2015. Expect today’s decision to reaffirm Ndayishimiye’s victory and pave the way for the inauguration of his seven-year term in August.
A rejection of the CNL challenge could solidify Burundi’s first-ever official democratic transfer of power, although Ndayishimiye’s authoritarian successorship will likely render that distinction meaningless. Expect the ruling party to prioritise power retention over public health and economic self-sufficiency.