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Burundi Gets A New President – 52 Years Old Evariste Ndayishimiye Is To Be sworn In As President Today

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Evariste Ndayishimiye

Burundi’s newly-elected president, Evariste Ndayishimiye is due to be sworn in today Thursday 18th June 2020 – two months earlier than planned.

The fast-tracked ceremony comes after his predecessor Pierre Nkurunziza died suddenly last week.

Mr Ndayishimiye is a former rebel leader, like late Nkurunziza.

He was backed by his predecessor and was declared the winner of May’s presidential election, which the opposition said was rigged.

Mr Nkurunziza died aged 55 on 8 June after suffering a cardiac arrest, the government said. There are unconfirmed reports that he was suffering from Covid-19.

After 15 years in power, Mr Nkurunziza was due to step down in August.

According to Burundi’s constitution, if the head of state dies in office then the president of the national assembly, currently Pascal Nyabenda, should succeed him.

But after a ruling by Burundi’s Constitutional Court, Mr Ndayishimiye’s inauguration in the capital, Gitega, was brought forward.

The new president is taking over a country that is diplomatically isolated and on bad terms with donors. The 52-year-old army general is regarded as a “humble” and “religious” man.

He has been among the most influential generals since 2005, when his close friend and colleague in rebellion, Pierre Nkurunziza took power.

Gen Ndayishimiye, commonly known as “Neva”, was a law student in the University of Burundi when the civil war erupted in 1993 following the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye.

Like his predecessor Mr Nkurunziza, in 1995, Gen Ndayishimiye survived an attack on ethnic Hutu students at his campus in the then-capital Bujumbura.

He then fled the country and joined the rebel force that was formed to fight the then Tutsi-led government.

His predecessor was accused of presiding over a government that carried out grave human rights violations and a crackdown on the opposition, journalists and activists. The country is also dealing with the coronavirus, which was downplayed by his predecessor.

Following the failed coup attempt in 2015, thousands of Burundians have fled the country and into refugee camps in neighbouring countries.(BBC)

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