Despite confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Burundi, the government announced that it plans to hold its upcoming elections as scheduled, presumably picking a new president on 20 May 2020. According to the latest UN report, the elections pose a major risk for Burundi. President Pierre Nkurunziza, whose controversial third term in office plunged the country into a political and economic crisis in 2015, is not running for re-election. Instead, the ruling CNDD-FDD party has named General Evariste Ndayishimiye as its candidate – and offers this as a sign of the country’s democratisation. Many observers, however, characterise Ndayishimiye as a hardliner.
What opportunities for a new beginning do the elections offer? How much leverage do the opposition and civil society have? What are the chances that violent escalation will reoccur? How can German and European policies and development cooperation programmes respond to the current developments?
Gesine Ames is the coordinator of the Ecumenical Network Central Africa.
Dr. Julia Grauvogel is Senior Research Fellow at the GIGA Institute for African Affairs.
Dr. Sonja Kreibich is the Head of the Sub-Saharan Africa division at the Federal Foreign Office.
Mgr. Jean Louis Nahimana is the former chairman of Burundi’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the current secretary-general of the Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Archdiocese of Bujumbura.
Dr. Christian von Soest is the Head of the GIGA Research Programme “Peace and Security.”
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