|The 2010 elections were the second to be held since the official end to the ethnic strife triggered by the assassination of the country's first Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye in October 1993. The conflict had resulted in the death of an estimated 300,000 people. Under the 2005 Constitution, 60 per cent of the seats in the National Assembly are reserved for members of the Hutu ethnic group and 40 per cent for Tutsis. They respectively make up 85 and 14 per cent of the population of 9.8 million inhabitants. A further three seats are reserved for the Twa ethnic group. Senate seats are shared equally between Hutus and Tutsis. A quota of 30 per cent of seats is reserved for women in both chambers.
In the previous elections to the National Assembly, held in July 2005, the National Council for the Defence of Democracy - Front for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD, the former Hutu rebel group which had fought against the Tutsi-led army) took 59 of the 100 directly elected seats in the National Assembly. The Front for Democracy in Burundi (Frodebu, a predominantly Hutu party) of the then President Domitien Ndayizeye, took 25 seats. The Tutsi-dominated Union for National Progress (Uprona) took 15. The remainder went to smaller parties. In order to ensure the 60-40 ethnic distribution of seats and 30 per cent quota for women, a further 18 members, including the three Twa representatives, were co-opted after the elections, bringing the final tally to 69 Hutus, 46 Tutsis and 3 Twas.
Indirect elections for 34 seats in the Senate were also held in July 2005. The CNDD-FDD won 30, and the Frodebu obtained three and the last seat went to the National Council for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD, a former rebel group). In order to respect the required 50-50 ethnic distribution, the 30 per-cent quota for women, and the three seats reserved for Twas, 11 members were co-opted. In addition to the 45 members, four former presidents - Domitien Ndayizeye, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, Jean-Baptiste Bagaza and Pierre Buyoya - are members of the Senate, bringing the total number of members to 49.
Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza of the CNDD-FDD was elected as the country's new President. The country subsequently experienced a series of political stalemates.
In February 2007, the CNDD-FDD expelled its former leader Mr. Hussein Radjabu. He was subsequently accused by the Attorney General of recruiting rebels to destabilize the State. His lawyer argued that the government feared his popularity ahead of the 2010 polls. Some 20 parliamentarians loyal to Mr. Radjabu defected to the opposition, depriving President Nkurunziza of a parliamentary majority. The CNDD-FDD subsequently expelled those members from the party. The parliament was paralyzed until November 2007 when a new consensus government, comprising the CNDD-FDD, Uprona and Frodebu, was installed. In April 2008, Mr. Radjabu was sentenced to a 13-year jail term, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2009. In June 2008, the Constitutional Court ruled to strip the expelled CNDD-FDD members of their parliamentary mandate.
Shortly after the Constitutional Court decision, former Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Jean Minani, defected from Frodebu along with 11 other members. They founded Frodebu-Nyakuri ("genuine", officially known as Sahwanya Frodebu Iragi rya NDADAYE). The splinter party allied with the ruling CNDD-FDD, which regained a parliamentary majority.
In September 2009, the parliament adopted a new electoral law. It stipulates that any senators and deputies elected as party candidates who voluntarily leave their political party will lose their parliamentary mandate. Parliamentarians who are dismissed from a party after exhausting all judicial recourses will also lose their mandate. Several parliamentarians left their parties before the law - which is not retroactive - was promulgated by President Pierre Nkurunziza on 18 September.
The political stalemate continued in 2010. In May 2010, the CNDD-FDD won the local council elections. Most opposition parties claimed election fraud and sought a re-run of the vote. This request was rejected by the election commission. All six opposition presidential candidates subsequently announced that they would be boycotting the presidential elections scheduled for June. The election commission nevertheless maintained the presidential polls. Before the elections, top opposition contender, Mr. Agathon Rwasa - former rebel leader turned head of the Forces for National Liberation (FNL) - went into hiding. He claimed that the government wanted to arrest him on charges of plotting to mount a new insurgency. In June, incumbent President Mr. Nkurunziza, the sole candidate, was re-elected with 91.62 per cent of the votes.
In July, five parties were vying for seats in the National Assembly. Most opposition parties which had boycotted the 2010 presidential elections announced that they would not participate in the parliamentary polls. The major contenders were the ruling CNDD-FDD and its ally, Frodebu-Nyakuri, as well as the opposition Uprona. The Coalition for Free and Transparent Elections (CELAT Coalition, which supports the ruling party), the Independent Labour Party (PTD), as well as two independent candidates, also participated in the elections.
President Nkurunziza called on voters' support for the CNDD-FDD, arguing that they should elect experienced candidates who were true patriots and who would lead the country to sustainable and harmonious development
The Frodebu-Nyakuri party promised to revive the economy while protecting the environment and providing better health care.
Uprona Chairman Bonaventure Niyoyankana underscored that the National Assembly needed to be "multicoloured" so as to allow all Burundians to feel that they were represented by MPs who would defend their rights.
On 23 July, 66.68 per cent of the 3.5 million registered voters turned out at the polls.
The European Union observer mission welcomed the calm in which the polls took place but regretted the boycott that had been staged by most of the opposition parties.
The final results gave 80 seats to the CNDD-FDD. Its ally, Frodebu-Nyakuri, won four seats, while Uprona took 16. In addition, one member from each party that won seats and three Twas were co-opted, bringing the total number of members in the National Assembly to 106.
On 28 July, indirect elections to the Senate were held in local councils. The CNDD-FDD won 32 of the 34 elected seats, while Uprona took two seats. Three Twa members, including two women, were co-opted and four former presidents remain senators, bringing the total number of senators to 41.
On 16 August, the newly elected Parliament held its first session. On 20 August, the Senate elected Mr. Gabriel Ntisezerana (CNDD-FDD) as its new President while the National Assembly re-elected Mr. Pie Ntavyohanyuma (CNDD-FDD) as its Speaker the following day.