BUJUMBURA September 6th (ABP) – The specific provisions of the Burundi Electoral Code, enacted on May 20th by President Pierre Nkurunziza, stipulate in the first paragraph of Article 89 of that new electoral law that the President of the Republic is elected by direct and secret universal suffrage for a renewable term of seven years.
Paragraph 2 of that Article states that no one may serve more than two consecutive terms. According to Article 90, the electoral constituency is the territory of the Republic of Burundi, subject to the participation of Burundians living abroad.
According to paragraph 1 of Article 91, the election of the President of the Republic takes place by a two-round system. Paragraph 2 of the same Article specifies that the President of the Republic is elected by an absolute majority of the votes cast. If this majority is not obtained in the first round, a second round is held within a fortnight.
As clarified in paragraph 3, only the two candidates who have received the most votes cast can appear in the second round of the ballot. In case of withdrawal of either of the two candidates, the following candidates will appear in the order of their ranking after the first ballot.
In the end, the candidate having received a relative majority of the votes cast is declared elected in the second round.
On its part, paragraph 1 of Article 92 stipulates that in the case of a single candidate, either that he has been the only one submitted or that the other candidates have withdrawn, the candidate must obtain in the first round an absolute majority of votes cast. If the absolute majority is not reached, the paragraph 2 of the same Article specifies that the applications are relaunched for a period not exceeding ten days.
In case of multiple candidates, paragraph 3 of the same Article explains that the one who is declared elected in the second round is the candidate having received the relative majority of the votes cast. In case of persistence of a single candidacy, the candidate is declared elected regardless of the votes cast.
For Article 93 of the Electoral Code, it recommends that the term of the President of the Republic begins on the day of his swearing-in and ends when his successor takes office.
The electoral code also specifies in Articles 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 and 99 the conditions of eligibility, causes of ineligibility and incompatibilities for the candidate for the office of President of the Republic.
According to paragraph 1 of Article 94, the candidate for the office of the President of the Republic must fulfill the following conditions: to be a qualified elector, to be only of the Burundian nationality of origin, to be forty years old at the time of the election, to reside on the territory of Burundi at the time of the submission of applications, enjoy all their civil and political rights and subscribe to the constitution and charter of national unity.
Paragraph 2 of that Article states that, in addition, if the candidate has been convicted of a criminal servitude of six months or more, the candidate must have served the sentence for at least four years. Similarly, if the candidate has been sentenced for a criminal servitude of five years or more, the candidate must have fully served that sentence for at least ten years.
Article 95 clarifies further by stipulating that notwithstanding the provisions of Article 94 in paragraph 2 above, convictions for offenses of recklessness other than the case of hit-and-run, driving without a license, state of drunkenness or concomitant insurance, are not causes for ineligibility and do not prevent the submission of candidacy.
According to Article 96, candidates may be nominated by political parties, political party coalitions or in quality of independents. Paragraph 1 of Article 97 continues to say that each candidate in the presidential elections must be supported by a group of two hundred people selected while taking into account the ethnic and gender components. In addition, that group must be of a national character.
Moreover, according to paragraph 2 of that Article, the members of the supporting group must themselves meet the conditions required for eligibility for the parliamentary elections. Article 98 of the Electoral Code stipulates that the tasks of the President of the Republic are incompatible with any other elective public service, any public employment and any professional activity.
Finally, Article 99 recommends that when the candidate elected President of the Republic occupies a public service, he is ex officio placed in secondment position upon the proclamation of the final results.
Moreover, when the candidate provided a private service, whether paid or unpaid, for his own account or on behalf of a third party, the candidate ceases all activity as soon as the final results are announced.