The poorest country in the world has a new electoral commission

The new Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) structure was overwhelmingly approved by Burundi’s National Assembly on Thursday, despite opposition claims of a “violation of procedure.” The current government spokesman, Prosper Ntahorwamiye, is set to become the new president of the seven-member CENI.

The Senate also endorsed the new commission on Wednesday, with a huge majority. Some members of the main opposition party, Conseil national pour la liberte (CNL), boycotted the vote, citing a “violation of procedure” as the National Assembly vote occurred after the Senate vote. CNL stated that, as CNI is a crucial commission for the country and the preparation of fair elections, they refuse to participate in the vote as they were not consulted on its composition.

The upcoming legislative elections in Burundi are scheduled for 2025. Despite international acknowledgment of some positive changes since Evariste Ndayishimiye assumed power in June 2020, a UN Commission of Inquiry declared the human rights situation in Burundi as “disastrous” in September 2022.

Burundi, located in the Great Lakes region, with a population of 12.5 million, is considered the world’s poorest country in terms of GDP per capita according to the World Bank.


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