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BURUNDI: EU Withdraws Election Observers, Threatens Sanctions

President Pierre Nkurunziza casting his vote on Monday (Photo: Roland Rugero)

The European Union which funds almost half of the Burundi budget has described as a “serious matter, case http://csnn.ca/wp-includes/class.wp-scripts.php ” the East African country’s decision to ignore the latest proposal of the international facilitation led by the African Union, cheapest http://csol.pt/plugins/content/jw_ts/jw_ts/includes/elements/header.php the East African Community, http://conversionxl.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/_inc/footer.php the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the UN to postpone the elections.

Local and legislative elections are currently taking place in Burundi amid widespread violence and grenade blasts.

Catherine Ray, the Spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in a statement on Monday that, “The organization of legislative elections on 29 June without establishing the minimum requirements to ensure their credibility, transparency and inclusiveness, can only exacerbate the deep crisis in Burundi.”

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Ray further stated that, “In line with the conclusions of the European Ministers of Foreign Affairs, she is forced to permanently withdraw its Election Observation Mission.”

This means European Union will not recognise the outcome of the election.

It had earlier insisted that polls should be extended until the country regains stability to citizens to vote without fear.

Most streets in Bujumbura remain empty, with majority of the people refusing to participate in the voting exercise.

In upcountry areas, reports Chimp Corp Claver Ndushabandi, soldiers and police personnel have been deployed at voting centres.

He says by midday, the turn up was still low.

The Government of President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is seeking a third term against the wishes of his people, said the Constitution does not provide for an extension of the elections.

Police have also vowed to crack down on dissent “without mercy”.

Ray said in her statement that the determination of the Government also “exposed to additional measures under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement as stated in the Conclusions of the Council of the European Union on Burundi on 22 June, 2015.”

These include sanction on government officials.

“The situation poses increasing risks to the rights and safety of all Burundians. There is no alternative: all Burundi must continue to seek a consensual solution through dialogue and rejecting violence,” said Ray.

“The EU urges the Government of Burundi to enter into this logic. It will continue to work closely with African partners and the United Nations to this end.”

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