Politics of Burundi

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Politics of Burundi takes place in a framework of a transitional presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Burundi is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Senate and the National Assembly.

Political landscape after the civil war[edit]

The political landscape of Burundi has been dominated in recent years by the civil war and a long peace process and move to democracy. The current President of Burundi is Pierre Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader of the Hutu National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy who was elected unopposed as the new President of Burundi by the parliament on 19 August 2005. Nkurunziza was the first president chosen through democratic means since the start of the civil war in 1993 and was sworn in on 26 August, replacing transitional president Domitien Ndayizeye.

In November 1995, the presidents of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zaire (currently Democratic Republic of Congo) announced a regional initiative for a negotiated peace in Burundi facilitated by former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. In July 1996, former Burundian President Buyoya returned to power in a bloodless coup. He declared himself president of a transitional republic, even as he suspended the National Assembly, banned opposition groups, and imposed a nationwide curfew. Widespread condemnation of the coup ensued, and regional countries imposed economic sanctions pending a return to a constitutional government. Buyoya agreed in 1996 to liberalize political parties. Nonetheless, fighting between the army and Hutu militias continued. In June 1998, Buyoya promulgated a transitional constitution and announced a partnership between the government and the opposition-led National Assembly. After facilitator Julius Nyerere's death in October 1999, the regional leaders appointed Nelson Mandela as Facilitator of the Arusha peace process. Under Mandela the peace process has revived and important progress has taken place.

In April 2015 the 2015 Burundian unrest broke out after the ruling party announced President Pierre Nkurunziza would seek a third term in office. Protests in the capital lasted over a week, and while President Nkurunziza was in Tanzania for talks at resolving the situation, Major General Godefroid Niyombare declared a coup, leading to gun battles in the capital for control of key locations.

Executive branch[edit]

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Pierre Nkurunziza CNDD-FDD 26 August 2005
Vice-presidents Thérence Sinunguruza UPRONA 29 August 2010
Gervais Rufyiri 29 August 2010

The president is elected by the people. He nominates two vice-presidents, who form together with the Council of Ministers the executive branch.

Legislative branch[edit]

The National Assembly (Assemblée nationale) has 118 members, elected for a five-year term by proportional representation with a 2% barrier. The Senate (Sénat) has 49 members, elected for a five-year term by electoral colleges of communal councilors. Extra seats in both chambers can be added to ensure that ethnic and gender quotas are met. Burundi has a multi-party system, with two or three strong parties and a third party that is electorally successful. Parties are usually based on ethnic background.

Political parties and elections[edit]

For other political parties see List of political parties in Burundi. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Burundi.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Burundi has 17 provinces: Bubanza, Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rural, Bururi, Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Gitega, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Mwaro, Ngozi, Rutana and Ruyigi.

International relations[edit]

Burundi is member of ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, CEEAC, CEPGL, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.

External links[edit]