Burundi's ruling party is anticipating victory in the controversial legislative elections that were held on Monday 29 June but the country's opposition has already rejected the yet-to-be announced results.
Opposition leaders want President Pierre Nkurunziza to step down or withdraw his third-term bid in the separate upcoming presidential election, claiming it violates the country's constitution and the Arusha Accords, a peace deal that ended the ethnic civil war and established the foundation for Burundi's post-conflict recovery in 2005.
But Nkurunziza's supporters argue the president's first term should be discounted as he was chosen by the parliament and not by the people in an election as is specified in the agreement.
Presidency: 'CNDD-FDD victory'
While there is little doubt about the outcome given the opposition boycott, presidential adviser Willy Nyamitwe told IBTimes UK the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party expects a "landslide victory" in the legislative elections.
The CNDD-FDD currently dominates the outgoing parliament with 81 of the 106 seats.
"The elections went well, without any major incident across the whole territory. The opposition had announced a boycott verbally, but unfortunately for them, physically it didn't happen and members of the opposition voted, and some were even elected," Nyamitwe said. "We expect the ruling party to win the elections, which doesn't come as a surprise."
The Presidency welcomed estimation turnout figures "superior to 80%" given by electoral commission CENI. "People didn't boycott the elections like opposition figures would have us believe," Nyamitwe said.
While there were reports of violence at a number of polling stations, images allegedly portraying electors washing their hands after using indelible ink – applied to the forefinger of voters during elections in order to prevent electoral fraud such as double voting – also spread on social media.
'Made up election results'
Opposition leader Agathon Rwasa, however, slammed a rumour circulating in the capital Bujumbura that his opposition party, the National Liberation Forces (Forces pour la Libération Nationale, FNL) may have come second in the polls.
"How can we be second if Burundians desire democratic change? In all logic, we should come first before the CNDD-FDD. The results are made up by Nkurunziza and the [electoral commission] CENI," Rwasa told IBTimes UK over the phone.
In his view, the opposition should not either accept or reject the results but agree with the government to renew the elections.
"With these elections, we are isolating Burundi, so we need a ballot which can give credibility to our country, and we need to go back to the dialogue table before the end of next month. Only this can give us a realistic turnout and not just fake numbers given to us by the CENI," Rwasa added.
"We saw people washing ink off their their hands without even using cleanser. Now you can understand that the foul play was well organised by the ruling party and the CENI."
Fred Ngamiye, chair of the UK Burundi Diaspora Association, also slammed the elections – in which he didn't vote – describing them as a "sham".
"These were fake elections," he told IBTimes UK, highlighting a lack of opposition, hundred of thousands of Burundians refugees unable to vote in the country, and the absence of both internal and external election observers.
"The results will be designed by the CENI in collaboration with the government, so if they give themselves 99% of voters, it'll be a fake calculation."
But Ngamiye also suggested the elections "be stopped until all points that the opposition, the civil society are asking are made".
CENI: Results in three or four days
The spokesman for CENI told IBTimes UK the results of the elections would be announced within the "next two or three days".
"The delay in announcing the results will depend on the number and size of each communes, the number of people who voted, as well as the state of the roads," Prosper Ntahorwamiye said.
For Ngamiye, Burundians "don't need to wait three or four days". He said: "The CENI can announce the results today if it wants because we know what is going to happen."
The opposition, meanwhile, claims the contested presidential elections should be held on 30 July – two weeks after initially planned – with the second round on 15 August. Rwasa added: "This is what the facilitators have suggested."
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