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Burundian president says to leave presidency in 2020

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-06-07 20:21

BUJUMBURA - Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza on Thursday announced that he will leave the presidency in 2020 at the expiry of his current presidential term.

"As the party visionary, I commit that my term is ending in 2020. In that context, don't be misled by people giving wrong interpretations on terms of the current president, or on this amended constitution," Nkurunziza said after signing and promulgating the new constitution in Gitega town.

The new constitution extends the presidential term from five years to seven years and allows the president to serve two consecutive terms, which means Nkurunziza is allowed to stay in office until 2034 if he is elected in future presidential elections.

"This constitution was not amended for President Nkurunziza as our enemies have been saying it. It was amended for the goodness, honor and good future of Burundi and its people," he said.

The Burundian Constitutional Court Thursday endorsed the results of the constitutional referendum, announcing that the amendments to the constitution were approved by a vote of 73.24 percent in the referendum.

The new constitution also creates the post of prime minister and cuts the number of vice presidents from two to one. According to the new constitution, the prime minister is to be designated from the ruling party, while the vice president will come from a different party.

Burundi plunged into a crisis in April 2015 when Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial bid for a third term. His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition, resulted in a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup in May 2015.

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