Burundi’s new president Ndayishimiye resumes office today

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Burundi’s newly elected president Evariste Ndayishimiye will be sworn in today, 18 June 2020, following the sudden death of his predecessor Pierre Nkurunziza.

The new president was elected in May in a vote disputed by the opposition and was meant to take office in August, but there was no alternative other than speeding up the swearing-in of Ndayishimiye after Nkurunziza’s fatality.

The swearing-in ceremony is expected to take place at the Ingoma stadium in the administrative capital Gitega, with the public asked to arrive early to allow time for coronavirus measures.

Despite invitation of diplomats and representatives of international organizations, Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi is expected to be the only head of state attending, due to the ongoing coronavirus threats.

The 55-year-old who ruled Burundi for 15 years was reported by the government to have died of a heart attack last week. His sudden death came less than two weeks after his wife had been flown to a Nairobi hospital for treatment for coronavirus, as per a medical document seen by AFP.

Evariste Ndayishimiye won the vote with 68.7 per cent, and an opposition bid to have the results overturned due to alleged fraud was overturned. Ndayishimiye is reputed to be more tolerant and open than his predecessor and is not a regime hardliner neither. The government has not announced Nkurunziza’s death but is yet to do so soon.

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