Feature Story

Building Venice in Africa? What we might learn from Burundi 


Tensions are reaching boiling point in Burundi as outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza insists on running for a third term as the country’s leader. His bid comes amid protests of large numbers of citizens and the international community that such a move would be unconstitutional and contrary to the Agreement of Arusha for Peace and Reconciliation, signed in 2000 to end to protracted ethnic conflict in Burundi.

The constitution states that the president “is elected by universal direct suffrage for a mandate of five years renewable one time.” Nkurunziza came to power in 2005, and was re-elected in 2010, but hinges his bid for a third term on the fact that in 2005 he was not elected by “universal direct suffrage,” but rather by the Parliament in accordance with the transitional provisions of the constitution.

About the Author

FORMER Secretary-General
Yves Leterme

Prior to International IDEA, Yves Leterme served as Prime Minister of Belgium from 2007 to 2011. Belgium held the Presidency of the European Union during Leterme’s tenure as Prime Minister. He then served as Deputy Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris from 2011 to 2014.