Burundi's government has confirmed it will be holding presidential elections on Tuesday 21 July, despite calls from the country's opposition and the international community to postpone the polls.
The move, announced by the presidency in a statement, follows months of violence, which started on 26 April, when the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza to stand for re-election – something the opposition claims violates the country's constitution and a peace deal, the Arusha Accords.
The government's announcement comes after Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan president, who was appointed mediator earlier in July by the East African Community (EAC), left Burundi on 15 July after holding crisis election talks between the CNDD-FDD party and opposition groups, representatives of the civil society and religious leaders.
"For the government of Burundi, and that was always written in the principles of its governance, dialogue needs to be permanent, would it be before, during and after the elections," Philippe Nzobonariba, a government spokesman, said.
"In consequence, the government informs the Burundian people and the international community that the electoral process that has already been initiated will not stop and that on Tuesday 21 July 2015, the people are being called upon to massively express [their] rightful will during the presidential elections and the dialogue initiated will continue unobstructed."
The elections were originally scheduled for 15 July. Following the third emergency summit, EAC leaders asked Burundi to postpone the presidential election to 30 July, "to allow time for the facilitator to lead the dialogue".
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