Constitutional Court validates referendum results

The final results of the constitutional referendum of May 17 were announced this Thursday, May 31. Unsurprisingly, the Constitutional Court validated the provisional results as given by the electoral commission. The verdict was differently appreciated.

La-une.cour-constitutionelleThe Constitutional Court decided that the referendum was conducted in accordance with the law. The draft Constitution of the Republic of Burundi was approved at 73, 24%. This was said by Charles Ndagijimana, President of the Constitutional Court, on Thursday, May 31 at a public hearing of that court.

It is on the analysis of the regulatory framework that the Constitutional Court bases its arguments. “Given the legal and regulatory framework on the conduct of the electoral process, the Constitutional Court has found no irregularities,” said Mr Ndagijimana.

He referred to Article 43 of the Electoral Code. According to him, the latter returns in particular to the unique official report of the voting operation. “All the supervisors from political parties and the opposition coalition signed it”. It was, inter alia, given to the divisions of the National Independent Electoral Commission.

According to Charles Ndagijimana, this report contains all the observations of the vote “which are taken into consideration in support of a subsequent appeal in case of electoral disputes”. Based on the above article, he also indicated that the absence of signature of one or another supervisor on the report does not invalidate the results.

“There were no irregularities likely to influence the vote”

The President of the Constitutional Court said “there were no irregularities that could influence the results of the vote during the assessment of the reports”.

“Some errors” have been reported on the results of the poll, says Mr. Ndagijimana. However, he says “they do not substantially modify the provisional results as they were announced by the National Electoral Commission”.

The court of which he is the president has therefore proceeded with the announcement of these results.
The electoral code allows it in Article 79, he explains. “If the Constitutional Court finds purely material errors, it proceeds to rectify erroneous results.”

He also says the appeal made by Amizero y’Abarundi coalition over the legality of the results of the referendum held on May 17 “was judged unfounded.”

As a reminder, on May 24, Amizero y’Abarundi opposition coalition had lodged a complaint to the constitutional court requesting the invalidation of the referendum results. Pierre Célestin Ndikumana, president of the parliamentary group of this coalition spoke of a “campaign which was not peaceful”. He also spoke of ” an influenced ” vote: “People were accompanying the voters in the voting booths”. The president of the Constitutional Court did not consider all this.

According to the final results of the referendum as announced by the Constitutional Court, the expected voters amounted to 4,768,154. But the turnout was 96.19% (4 586 730 voters). The Yes vote won at 73, 24% (3 359 493 voters) against 19, 37% of the No vote (888 564 voters). Abstentions were estimated at 4.10% and null votes at 3.27%.


CNDD-FDD: “The will of Burundian people has just won”

Evariste-NdayishimiyeFor Evariste Ndayishimiye, Secretary General of the ruling party, it is the will of the people that has just won. He congratulated the Government of Burundi which had asked to vote yes.
“I would also like to thank the Burundian people who responded favorably to the government’s appeal. It is a sign that the people and the government see things the same way. ”

Regarding the appeal made by Amizero y’Abarundi coalition, Evariste Ndayishimiye says the fact that they had the opportunity to file a complaint is a sign of democracy. “I advise them to accept the verdict of the polls and justice. According to him, this new constitution will mark a better future for the Burundian people because it emanates from them.

Amizero y’Abarundi: “We await the reaction of the Constitutional Court”

Pierre-Célestin-NdikumanaPierre Célestin Ndikumana, an MP from Amizero y’Abarundi opposition coalition says his coalition was not notified of the decision of the Constitutional Court. “It is a pity that the Court can notify people who have not lodged a complaint.
We have filed a complaint to the Constitutional Court and we are waiting for its reaction. “He finds it regrettable that the proceedings are being obstructed by a court that is supposed to respect the law.


Léonce Ngendakumana: “It could not be otherwise!”

Léonce-NgendakumanaThe Deputy President of Sahwanya FRODEBU party speaks of a non-event. According to Léonce Ngendakumana, the result of the recent referendum is a political decision that comes from above. “The Court could not therefore contradict this decision. It is a court that is politically oriented. “He emphasized that the same Court is involved in the constitutional crisis that the country is going through” because it validated an illegal third term”.

Mr. Ngendakumana says the decision by the Constitutional Court has no impact on the party’s line of struggle.”This is a step backward for democracy. We will adapt,” he says.

Abel Gashatsi: “The referendum was transparently held “

Abel-Gashatsi-1Abel Gashatsi, president of the UPRONA party, says it is not surprising that the Constitutional Court validates the results of the May 17 referendum. The electoral process went smoothly before, during and after the referendum campaign. He says the elections took place in a quite transparent way. Supervisors from various political parties oversaw the conduct of the elections. No major incidents were reported to question the results throughout the country. “Even the appeal made by the Amizero y ‘Abarundi coalition was rejected by the Constitutional Court,” he concluded.

CNARED: “It’s a non-event”

Pancrace-Cimpaye-2At the announcement of the verdict of the constitutional court, the coalition of opponents in exile has been quick to react. Pancrace Cimpaye,the spokesman for the coalition has said he considers the decision by the constitutional court as a non-event.
Mr. Cimpaye says the court has become an instrument of Bujumbura power.


By Edouard Nkurunziza, Clarisse Shaka, Fabrice Manirakiza,

Parfait Gahama & Arnaud Igor Igiriteka

Story translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

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