Agathon Rwasa Burundi
Agathon Rwasa, who led the FNL during Burundi's civil war, said the opposition is boycotting the elections Reuters

Burundi's opposition has announced it will boycott the upcoming elections, following weeks of protests.

"The opposition parties unanimously decided to boycott the elections, which were prepared by the CENI [Electoral Commission]," Charles Nditije, one of the representatives of the opposition, said.

Agathon Rwasa, leader of the National Liberation Forces (FNL), also told IBTimes UK he would be boycotting the electoral process.

Up until 26 June, Rwasa had maintained he would continue running as a presidential candidate, but had rejected the idea of a transitional government.

While legislative and municipal elections will be held on 26 June, the embattled presidential elections are now planned for 15 July.

Representatives of opposition parties – including UPD Zigamibanga, Frodebu, Ikibiri, RENAC, MSD and PSD – have been at an inter-dialogue meeting facilitated by African Union, the UN, the general secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the East African Community to find a solution to more than two months of violence.

Demonstrations started in the East African nation after President Pierre Nkurunziza declared his intention to stand for a third term in the 26 June elections, which the opposition claims is unconstitutional. However, his supporters argue that the president's first term should be discounted as he was chosen by the parliament rather than via election.

The international community called for the opposing sides to resume political dialogue after almost two months of street violence.

It is estimated that more than 80 people have died and about 150,000 civilians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries since the start of the violence on 26 April, when the CNDD-FDD nominated Nkurunziza to stand for re-election.

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