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Jumamosi, Septemba 30, 2023 Local time: 23:18

Obama Says Burundi Elections 'Not Credible'

Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), announces the preliminary results of the Presidential elections, in Bujumbura, Burundi, July 24, 2015.

President Barack Obama said the recent elections in Burundi were "not credible" and has called for talks between the government and opposition.

Obama spoke in Nairobi Saturday, one day after Burundi's electoral commission said President Pierre Nkurunziza had won a controversial third term.

President Obama said he and Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta discussed Burundi and want to see "a dialogue that leads to a political solution to the crisis and avoids the loss of more innocent life.”

In Addis Ababa, Burundi’s Foreign Minister Alan Nyamitwe dismissed international criticism of the election, saying no one can disregard the choice made by the people of Burundi.

Burundi’s opposition parties, which boycotted the election, have denounced Tuesday's presidential election and demanded new elections.

They argue Nkurunziza is violating a two-term limit in the constitution.

Court OKs term

A Burundian court ruled the president was eligible for a third five-year term because he was elected by parliament, not voters, for his first term in 2005.

The election commission announced Friday that Nkurunziza had won 69 percent of the vote, 50 percentage points ahead of his nearest challenger, Agathon Rwasa.

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is "deeply disappointed" by Nkurunziza's "use of undemocratic means to maintain power through an electoral process that was neither credible nor legitimate."

Nkurunziza's re-election bid plunged Burundi into its biggest crisis since the end of the civil war in 2005.

More than 100 people were killed during several weeks of protests and more than 170,000 have fled to refugee camps in neighboring countries.

Nkurunziza survived a coup attempt in May when he was out of the country.