Burundi Elections

Burundi elections includes electing the head of the state (The president) and the legislature. The Nationa Assembly has 118 members elected for a 5-year term. The senate has 49 members elected for a 5-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.

2015 Elections

The last presidential elections in Burundi were held on 21st July, 2015. President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term despite controversy over whether he was eligible to run again. The opposition boycotted the vote, and Nkurunziza won re-election

The ruling CNDD–FDD and the opposition disagreed over whether President Pierre Nkurunziza was eligible to run for a third term in office. Allies of Nkurunziza claimed that he was eligible for a third term, as his first term began after being elected by Parliament rather than a popular vote, and so was not included in the term limit.

The African Union and the United States both called for Nkurunziza not to stand for a third term.

On 27 May, the government urged citizens to donate money to help finance the election, reacting to the possibility of foreign aid being cut by saying that the vote would be held regardless. On 31 May, regional leaders of the East African Community called for the election to be delayed by six weeks.[10] While the Burundian government responded positively, protesters were angry that the EAC said nothing about Nkurunziza’s candidacy

On 8 June 2015, the electoral commission proposed that the date of the presidential election be moved from 26 June to 15 July, delaying the vote by nearly three weeks. On 11 July 2015, in response to requests from regional leaders, the government announced another delay, pushing the vote back by six days to 21 July

Election Conduct

The opposition complained about frequent police intimidation of its members and shuttering of private media.

The international observers claimed that the 2015 elections were marred with irregularities that needed to be sorted out before the commission conducted elections.

 2015 Election results

The electoral commission announced on 24 July 2015 that Nkurunziza had won the election with 69.41% of the vote. Agathon Rwasa was placed second and credited with 18.99%.






Pierre Nkurunziza




Agathon Rwasa

Independents of Hope



Gerard Nduwayo

Union for National Progress



Jean Minani

Front for Democracy in Burundi



Jacques Bigirimana

National Forces of Liberation



Domitien Ndayiozeye

National Rally for Reform



Jean De Dieu Mutabazi

Coalition for Peace in Africa



Sylvestre Ntibantunganya

Gira Ijambo












Registered voters/Turnout




Legal Framework

National Independent Electoral Commission (Commission électorale nationale indépendante; CENI) is responsible for the organization of national level, communes and local elections including voter registration

CENI is an independent body governing the conduct of elections. The CENI consists of a Chairperson, a Deputy chair and three members holding the portfolios of electoral operations, logistics and legal affairs, finances and administration and civic education and communication

The electoral commission is mandated to:

  • To organize national level, communes and local elections.
  • To ensure that these elections are free, fair and transparent.
  • To proclaim the provisional results of the elections within the time define by the law.
  • To promulgate arrangements, the code of conduct and the technical details, including the site of the polling stations and the hours to which they are to open.
  • To hear complaints concerning the compliance with the electoral rules and to take action pursuant to it.
  • To ensure that the electoral campaigns do not encourage ethnic violence or violate the Constitution.
  • To ensure the respect of the provisions of this Constitution relating to ethnicity and gender and to address disputes in this respect.