2015 Burundian legislative election

Parliamentary elections were held in Burundi on 29 June 2015. The vote had been initially set for 5 June 2015, alongside local elections, but it was delayed due to unrest.[1] Indirect elections to the Senate occurred on 24 July.[2]

2015 Burundian legislative election

29 June 2015 (2015-06-29)

All 121 seats to the National Assembly
61 seats needed for a majority (21 co-opted)
  Majority party Minority party Third party
Party CNDD–FDD Independents of Hope UPRONA
Last election 81 16
Seats won 77 21 2
Seat change 4 21 14
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In the previous legislative election in 2010, the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy won a large majority. The election was boycotted by most opposition parties following claims of fraud in the local elections held on 24 May. This left the opposition Union for National Progress and Front for Democracy in Burundi–Nyakuri (which were supportive of the ruling party) the only other parties to win seats.[3][4]

The announcement by the ruling party that the incumbent President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, would run for a third term in the presidential election, which was planned to be held on 26 June, sparked protest by those who were opposed to Nkurunziza seeking a third term in office.[5]

Critics of the president say his actions jeopardise a peace deal that has kept ethnic tensions in check since the Burundian Civil War ended in 2005[6] and that Nkurunziza is not constitutionally permitted to seek a third term in office; his supporters argue that his first five-year term should not count because he was elected by a parliamentary vote rather than a popular vote.[7]

Widespread demonstrations in the capital, Bujumbura, lasted for over three weeks. During that time the country's highest court approved Nkurunziza's right to run for a third term in office[8] despite the fact that at least one of court's judges fled the country claiming he had received death threats from members of the government.[9] As a result of the protests the government also shut down the country's internet and telephone network, closed all of the country's universities and government officials publicly referred to the protesters as "terrorists".[10] Since late April tens of thousands of people have fled the country, hundreds of people have been arrested and several protesters and police have been killed while dozens more have been injured.

On 13 May, a coup was announced, led by Maj. Gen. Godefroid Niyombare, while President Nkurunziza was in Tanzania attending an emergency conference about the situation in the country.[11] By the next day the coup collapsed and government forces reasserted control.

The elections were originally planned to be held 26 May,[12] but as a result of the unrest, the election was postponed to 5 June.[13] The East African Community together with South African President Jacob Zuma called on the government to delay the elections. The opposition has also called for a delay, and stated they would boycott the elections on 5 June. The European Union and the Catholic Church of Burundi pulled out of observing the elections, stating that the vote could not be held fairly because of unrest and a crackdown of the media.[13]

The head of the electoral commission, Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, announced on 3 June that the parliamentary and local elections would not take place as planned on 5 June and were being delayed to an unspecified date.[1] On 8 June 2015, the electoral commission proposed that the parliamentary election take place on 26 June.[14] The date was later set as 29 June 2015.[15]

Electoral system

The National Assembly has 100 directly-elected members, who are elected in 18 multi-member constituencies (equal to the provinces) using the closed list proportional representation system, with seat allocation decided by the d'Hondt method with a national 2% electoral threshold.[16] A further three members of the Twa ethnic group are appointed, and more members are co-opted to ensure a 60-40 split between Hutus and Tutsis, and a 30% quota for female MPs.[17]

The Senate is elected by colleges of local councillors, with three Twa members appointed and more members co-opted to ensure a 50-50 split between Hutus and Tutsis and a 30% quota for female Senators.[17]


Sixteen lists of parties, coalitions and independents contested the elections.[18] Seventeen opposition parties announced on 26 June that they would boycott both the parliamentary election and the subsequent presidential election.[19]


The African Union announced on 28 June that its election observers would not observe the parliamentary election scheduled for the next day, saying that the "necessary conditions" for "free, fair, transparent and credible elections" did not exist.[20] United Nations observers stated that the elections were not "free, inclusive or credible" due to "a climate of widespread fear and intimidation in parts of the country".[21]


National Assembly

Provisional results announced on 7 July 2015 showed the CNDD–FDD obtaining 77 of the 100 contested seats; the opposition coalition, which had called for a boycott, was credited with 21 seats, and UPRONA obtained two seats. Turnout was placed at 74.32%.[22] The opposition coalition remained on the ballot papers despite boycotting and vowing that it would not participate in the next National Assembly.[23] In the event that the elected deputies from the opposition do not take up their seats, according to the electoral law those seats would be reassigned to parties that received more than 5% of the vote.[22]

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Independents of Hope318,71711.1621New
Union for National Progress71,1892.492–15
Front for Democracy in Burundi–Nyakuri55,0001.930–5
National Forces of Liberation35,5321.240New
Movement for Solidarity and Democracy20,2750.710New
National Rally for Reform9,8270.340New
Coalition for Peace in Africa8,8930.310New
Union for Peace and Development6,0400.210New
Party for the Liberation of People – Agakiza9100.030New
Social Democratic Party – Dusabikanye6600.020New
Party for Democracy and Reconciliation4590.020New
Isidore Rufyikiri List4160.010New
Invalid/blank votes555,649
Co-opted members18
Reserved seats for Twas30
Registered voters/turnout3,843,02474.32
Source: CENI


The Senate was elected on 24 July by an electoral college composed of local councillors.[2] The chamber gained two members as a result of the creation of Rumonge Province.[24]

Party Seats
Elected Co-opted Total +/–
Union for National Progress2020
National Forces of Liberation1011
Reserved seats for Twas330
Former presidents440
Source: Senate of Burundi[25]


The National Assembly began meeting for its new term on 27 July 2015. Members of Amizero y'Abarundi, the opposition coalition, were divided on whether to take up their parliamentary seats. The main opposition leader, Agathon Rwasa, said that 20 deputies from his party, the National Forces of Liberation (FNL), would take up their seats, but Charles Nditije of the Union for National Progress (UPRONA) said that the 10 UPRONA deputies would not. Nditije said that it would be "impossible to take seats" considering that they had boycotted the election.[26]

On 30 July 2015, Pascal Nyabenda, the President of the CNDD-FDD, was elected as President of the National Assembly. Agathon Rwasa was elected as First Vice-President and Edouard Nduwimana, who had been Minister of the Interior, as Second Vice-President.[27][28] There were no opposing candidates for any of the three positions. Nyabenda received 101 votes and Rwasa, with the backing of CNDD-FDD deputies, received 108 out of 112 votes.[28] By accepting a top post in the legislature and appearing to adopt a conciliatory approach to the government, Rwasa infuriated some in the opposition, who viewed his actions as betrayal.[27][28]

Révérien Ndikuriyo, a CNDD-FDD Senator, was elected as President of the Senate on 14 August 2015. He was the only candidate for the post and was unanimously elected. Spès Caritas Njebarikanuye, a CNDD-FDD Senator, was elected as First Vice-President of the Senate, and Anicet Niyongabo, a UPRONA Senator, was elected as Second Vice-President.[29]


  1. Clement Manirabarusha, "Burundi says has delayed elections amid prolonged protests", Reuters, 3 June 2015.
  2. "Burundi / Sénatoriales 2015 : Le nouveau Sénat 2015 – 2020". Burundi AGnews. 25 July 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  3. Samia, Mahgoub (29 July 2010). "A Review of Burundi's Legislative Elections". IFES. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  4. "Burundi: Violence, Rights Violations Mar Elections". HRW. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  5. "Burundi: Crackdown on Protesters - Human Rights Watch". hrw.org.
  6. "U.S. tells Burundi's president his country risks boiling over". Reuters. 30 Apr 2015.
  7. "Burundi protest organizers call halt to demonstrations for two days: civil society leader". Reuters. 2 May 2015.
  8. "Urgent – La cour constitutionnelle se prononce pour une nouvelle candidature de Pierre Nkurunziza". iwacu-burundi.org.
  9. "Senior Burundi judge flees rather than approve president's candidacy". The Guardian. 5 May 2015.
  10. "Burundi calls opposition protesters 'terrorists'". BBC. 2 May 2015.
  11. "Army general in Burundi says president is ousted", Associated Press, 13 May 2015.
  12. "Burundi publishes 2015 election agenda". StarAfrica. 19 July 2014. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  13. Manirabarusha, Clement (2 June 2015). "Burundi protesters on streets after African leaders seek poll delay". Reuters. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  14. Clement Manirabarusha, "Burundi's electoral commission proposes dates for delayed vote", Reuters, 8 June 2015.
  15. "Burundi goes to the polls despite protests", AFP, 26 June 2015.
  16. Electoral system IPU
  17. Elections held in 2005 IPU
  18. Definitive list of Deputy candidates: Elections 2015 CENI
  19. Clement Manirabarusha, "Burundi crisis escalates as opposition boycotts elections", Reuters, 26 June 2015.
  20. Clement Manirabarusha, "African Union says Burundi election not free or fair, speaker flees", Reuters, 28 June 2015.
  21. UN declares Burundi elections not free or credible amid tense standoff The Guardian, 3 July 2015
  22. "Burundi's ruling party wins legislative poll" Archived July 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Xinhua, 7 July 2015.
  23. Clement Manirabarusha, "Burundi considers response after African nations seek vote delay", Reuters, 7 July 2015.
  24. "Rumonge désormais la 18ème province de la République du Burundi". National Assembly of Burundi. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  25. "Liste des Sénateurs Législature 2015-2020". Senat du Burundi. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  26. "Burundi parliament opens after disputed poll, opposition takes seats", Reuters, 27 July 2015.
  27. Ole Tangen Jr., "Burundi opposition leader wins top position in National Assembly", Deutsche Welle, 30 July 2015.
  28. "Burundi: Agathon Rwasa devient vice-président de l’Assemblée nationale", Radio France Internationale, 30 July 2015 (in French).
  29. "Election du nouveau bureau du Sénat", Senate of Burundi website, 14 August 2015 (in French).
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