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Burundi ruling party picks Ndayishimiye as candidate in May poll

Burundi’s governing party, the CNDD-FDD, has chosen its secretary-general as the party’s presidential candidate in the upcoming election in May.

Evariste Ndayishimiye is an ally of Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza
Evariste Ndayishimiye is an ally of Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza

Evariste Ndayishimiye is among the most influential political figures in Burundi, and a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Last week, the government agreed to award Mr Nkurunziza $530,000 (£400,000) and a luxury villa.

Mr Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005, will not seek a new term.

Mr Ndayishimiye, 52, is a former minister of interior and security, and runs the department of military affairs in the president’s office.

He is a former rebel combatant of the CNDD-FDD who survived the ethnic cleansing of Hutu students at the University of Burundi in 1995.

The party’s endorsement of Mr Ndayishimiye is likely to nurture optimism, the BBC’s Bernard Bankukira says.

In 2015, the impoverished East African country was plunged into its worst crisis since the end of a 12-year civil war in 2005, when Mr Nkurunziza’s ultimately successful bid for a third term in power sparked protests by opposition supporters who said it was unconstitutional.

In 2018, Mr Nkurunziza announced he would not stand for further presidential terms after changing Burundi’s constitution, a move that sparked violent protests and was seen by many as a way for him to cling to power indefinitely. BBC News