• Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

CENI presents the state of preparations for the 2025 elections to national electoral partners


May 22, 2024

BUJUMBURA, 18 May (ABP) – On Friday 17 May, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) organised a meeting in Bujumbura with national electoral partners under the theme: “Preparations for the 2025 elections: state of play and prospects”.

The Chairman of the CENI, Prosper Ntahorwamiye, began by recalling that on 12 April 2024, the Burundian Head of State officially launched the civic and electoral education campaign for the 2025 elections. He pointed out that the 2025 elections would be held using the national identity card currently in use, because with the time remaining, the biometric national identity card would not yet be available. He asked the Ministry of the Interior to make it easier for those who do not have a national identity card to obtain one as soon as possible.

The 2025 elections will take place on the basis of the new administrative division, in accordance with Article 3 of Organic Law No. 1/05 of 16 March 2023 determining the provinces, communes, zones, hills or neighbourhoods of Burundi. The provinces will be reduced from 18 to 5, while the communes will be reduced from 119 to 42 and the zones from 375 to 451.

As the results of the next general census of the population, housing, agriculture and livestock had not yet been validated and proclaimed, Mr Ntahorwamiye explained that the CENI would use what is known as the natural population growth rate, explaining that the results of the 2008 general census of the population, which were more than 8 million inhabitants, would be multiplied by 3% to find more than 13 million inhabitants in 2025.

                                                                                    View of national electoral partners

With regard to the number of deputies, he recalled that article 169 of the Burundian constitution stipulates that the National Assembly of Burundi is made up of 100 deputies. Under the old administrative division, these seats were shared by the 18 provinces. In the new administrative division, where there will be 5 provinces, including Buhumuza, Bujumbura, Burunga, Butanyerera and Gitega, CENI has used what is known as the electoral quotient to find the number of MPs to be allocated to each province.

Buhumuza province will have 16 MPs, Bujumbura 23, Burunga 17, Butanyerera 23 and Gitega 21. In addition to this number of deputies, 3 deputies from the Twa ethnic group will be co-opted, giving a total of 103 deputies in the National Assembly.

The chairman of CENI also pointed out that the commission is preparing to set up independent provincial electoral commissions (CEPI). Political parties, civil society and religious denominations must prepare themselves for the elections.

Each party must present 3 candidates per province. Civil society and religious denominations must see how they can come together to present 3 candidates representing all civil society organisations and 3 candidates representing all religious denominations per province. CENI will receive CEPI candidate files over a period of 4 days, from 3 to 7 June 2024.  Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree.  CENI is also preparing to set up registration centres, which will become polling stations.

As far as the budget is concerned, CENI is planning a budget of more than 14 billion BIF, which will be spread over two financial years.

During the discussions, the national electoral partners wanted to know who would sign the documents to be submitted by the candidates at a time when the heads of the new provinces and communes had not yet been put in place. The Chairman of CENI pointed out that Article 7 of the aforementioned law stipulates that until the elections are organised, the existing institutions remain in place. The participants also raised concerns about the electoral code, which has not yet been validated, explaining that this could block their preparations. The Chairman of CENI asked them not to let themselves be distracted by the electoral code, but to wait for it by getting on with their work.