USA-BURUNDI: MEMBERS OF CONGRESS SUPPORT THE DECISION OF CONSTITUTIONAL COURT AND CALL FOR OPEN TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Sen Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) released the following joint statement today regarding the upcoming elections in Burundi on June 26, 2015:

“We are deeply concerned about the increased violence in Burundi and we urge the government and people of Burundi to refrain from violence and to work together as the country moves forward to democratically elect members of Parliament and its next President.

While we understand there is disagreement regarding President Nkurunziza’s eligibility to run for re-election, we support the decision of Burundi’s Constitutional Court that ruled that President Nkurunziza could run again.

We ask the international community to support that court’s ruling and uphold the statements made by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and United Nations Chairman of the Peace Building Commission Burundi Configuration.

We continue to support and stand with the people of Burundi, the peace they have been able to achieve, and their growth as a democratic nation.

We call on the government of Burundi to ensure the upcoming elections are free, open and transparent. We expect the government of Burundi to ensure opposition parties are afforded the opportunity to fully participate in the upcoming and future democratic election processes.

Additionally, we expect the government of Burundi to provide full access to international election observers.

We stand by the commitment we made during our visit to Burundi in April to continue to work with the government and people of Burundi to help ensure peace and stability.”

On April 3, Sens. Inhofe and Rounds and Reps. Buchanan, Barton, Kirkpatrick, and Walberg visited the country of Burundi where they had meetings with President Pierre Nkurunziza as well as members of the Parliament of Burundi.

On April 28, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union urged “all Burundian stakeholders to respect the decision of the Constitution Court, when delivered.”

On April 29, the United Nations Chairman of the Peace Building Commission Burundi Configuration appealed “to all sides to respect the verdict” of the Constitutional Court.

On May 4, Burundi’s Constitutional Court ruled that President Nkurunziza’s first term did not count because he was picked by parliament rather than elected by the people.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2015
Donelle Harder

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