Electoral/Political Party Reform: Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi

Protocol I, Chapter II: Article 5:

4. Orientation of political parties' programmes towards the ideals of unity and national reconciliation and of socio-economic development rather than the protection of a specific component of the Burundian people.

6. Enactment of an electoral law that takes into account the concerns and interests of all components of the nation on the basis of the provisions of Protocol II to the Agreement. Arusha, Protocol II, Chapter I, Article 4: Political parties

1. The multiparty system shall be recognized in the Republic of Burundi.

2. Political parties may be formed freely in conformity with the law.

3. A political party shall be a non-profit association uniting citizens around a democratic blueprint for society founded on national unity, and having a political programme with precise objectives dictated by the desire to serve the public interest and ensure the development of all citizens.

4. Political parties must comply with democratic principles in their organization and functioning, be open to all Burundians and be national in character and leadership, and shall not promote ethnic, regional or religious violence and hatred.

5. Political parties - and coalitions of political parties - shall promote the free expression of suffrage and shall participate in political life by peaceful means.

6. For the purposes of promoting democracy, a national law may authorize the financing of political parties on an equitable basis in proportion to the number of seats they hold in the National Assembly. Such financing may apply both to the functioning of the political parties and to electoral campaigns, and shall be transparent. The law shall define the types of subsidies, benefits and facilities that the State may grant political parties.

7. Registration of political parties shall fall within the competence of the Ministry of the Interior.

8. The law shall guarantee non-interference by the public authorities in the internal functioning of political parties, save for such restrictions as may be necessary for the prevention of ethnic hatred and the maintenance of public order.

9. Political parties may form coalitions during elections in accordance with the electoral law.

Protocol II, Chapter I: Article 5: Elections

1. The right to vote shall be guaranteed.

2. Elections shall be free, fair and regular in accordance with the electoral law and the law governing political parties.

3. Elections shall be organized impartially at the national, commune and colline levels and at other levels prescribed by the Constitution or by law.

4. Until amended in accordance with the post-transition Constitution, the rules relating to the electoral system shall be the same as those governing the elections for institutions at the national, commune and colline levels to be held during the transition period.

5. An Independent National Electoral Commission constituted in conformity with the provisions of article 20 of the present Protocol shall guarantee the freedom, impartiality and independence of the electoral process.

Implementation History

2003

No Implementation

The Arusha accord called for the establishment of a multiparty political system for Burundi in which political parties can organize freely and form coalitions. To gurantee free and fair elections, the accord called for the establishment of an Independent National Electoral Commission.  

Not all major parties to the conflict signed the agreement until 2003. During this three year gap, no developments were observed concerning electoral/political party reform. 

2004

Intermediate Implementation

The National Independent Electoral Commission was established by parliament on 31 August 2004 with Paul Ngarambe as its chairman.1 

  • 1. "United Nations Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations Security Council (S/2004/902), November 15, 2004.
2005

Full Implementation

After constitutional approval in a referendum on 25 February, the transitional national assembly approved new electoral legislation on 12 March 2005.2 The draft bill was approved by the senate on 13 April 2005.3 The parliamentary elections and senate elections were held in July and the presidential election was held in August of 2005.4 

  • 2. "Election 2005: Legislative Poll on Track as Parliament Approves New Electoral Laws in Burundi," World Markets Analysis, March 14, 2005.
  • 3. "Upper Chamber Endorses New Electoral Laws in Burundi," World Market Analysis, March 14, 2005.
  • 4. "Burundi; Elections Calendar Issued," Africa News, April 25, 2005.
2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2007

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2008

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2009

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2010

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2011

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2012

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.