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Burundi opposition leader rejects 'fantasy' early poll results

Burundi's main opposition leader has rejected early signs the ruling party is heading for victory in this week's general election, describing the results from 12 percent of municipalities as "fantasy."

Burundi opposition leader rejects 'fantasy' early poll results
Agathon Rwasa, presidential candidate of Burundi's main opposition party the National Congress for Liberty (CNL), speaks to media after voting during presidential and general elections in Ngozi, northern Burundi, on May 20, 2020. AFP
"Absolutely I reject these results. These results being declared are a fantasy. They do not reflect reality," said Agathon Rwasa, leader of the National Council for Liberty (CNL), of the results released by state media late Thursday.

Rwasa said tallies done at polling stations on Wednesday clearly showed the CNL had the lead over the ruling CNDD-FDD party and its frontrunner candidate, Evariste Ndayishimiye.

"We can easily demonstrate that this is cheating. These numbers being put out there are simply the result of pure manipulation," he said.

"We have won -- whether in the presidential, legislative or local elections. We have the results to prove it."

The election commission had earlier called for calm, saying it would take several days to collect and tally all the votes at official counting centres, and warned against reading into early and incomplete results.

More than five million registered voters were asked to choose between Rwasa, Ndayishimiye, and five other candidates for president, as well as elect their lawmakers and local officials.

Ndayishimiye is the hand-picked heir to President Pierre Nkurunziza, whose 2015 bid for a third term unleashed violence that left at least 1,200 dead and saw 400,000 others flee the country.

Nkurunziza announced he would not run again after 15 years in power, a time during which his party was accused of serious rights abuses and Burundi became increasingly isolated on the world stage.

Topics: Burundi , general election , Agathon Rwasa , National Council for Liberty , Evariste Ndayishimiye
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