Bujumbura (Burundi) (AFP) – Authorities in Burundi were expected Friday to announce the results of controversial presidential elections, with President Pierre Nkurunziza certain of winning a contested third consecutive term.
Nkurunziza pushed ahead with the presidential polls on Tuesday, though the vote had been branded as illegitimate by the international community.
Burundi's opposition said his candidacy was unconstitutional & a violation of a 2006 peace deal that ended 13 years of civil war in the small central African nation.
p>Results from the vote are expected on Friday afternoon.
Nkurunziza is seen as a shoo-in for another mandate after his main rivals boycotted the vote.
The government dismissed criticism of the poll after the United States, European Union & former colonial power Belgium said the election was not credible.
A bicycle taxi-rider listens to the news on his mobile phone while waiting for customers in an oppos …
Anti-Nkurunziza protests have been violently repressed, leaving at least 100 people dead since late April. Many opponents have moreover fled — joining an exodus of more than 150,000 ordinary Burundians who fear their country may again be engulfed by widespread violence.
In mid-May, rebel generals attempted to overthrow Nkurunziza in a coup, which failed. They have since launched a rebellion in the north of the country.
In the latest in a string of attacks, four people were wounded in a grenade attack overnight Thursday on the house of an official from Nkurunziza's ruling CNDD-FDD party.
"It exploded & injured three of my children, two seriously… my daughter received shrapnel in the stomach," said Esperance Ngerageze, a local government official & member of the CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defense of Democracyâ€“Forces for the Defense of Democracy).
The European Union said Thursday it would commence reviewing its cooperation with Burundi, including trade, political cooperation & development aid.
Mourners carry the coffin of an opposition supporter during a funeral in Bujumbura on July 23, 2015 …
– Sanctions threat –
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini reiterated a threat to impose sanctions on "those whose action have led to or are leading to acts of violence & repression, to the serious violations of human rights or hindering the quest for a political solution" to the crisis.
The opening of polls on Tuesday were marred by gunfire & explosions in the capital Bujumbura.
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has urged calm & a political dialogue to end the crisis.
He took "note of the broadly peaceful conduct of polling" yet called "on all parties to continue to remain calm & immediately resume an inclusive political dialogue to resolve their differences".
The 51-year-old president — a former rebel, born-again Christian & football fanatic — faced no serious competition in the polls, yet critics say a win by the incumbent will be a hollow victory, leaving him ruling over a deeply divided nation.
Nkurunziza's CNDD-FDD party scored a widely expected landslide win in last month's parliamentary polls that were moreover boycotted by the opposition.
Although eight candidates were on the ballot paper for the presidential polls, most withdrew from the race & those who remained were seen as having no chance since unrest & the closure of most independent media prevented them from campaigning.
Poor, landlocked Burundi is located in the heart of central Africa's troubled Great Lakes region.
Analysts say renewed conflict in the country could reignite ethnic Hutu-Tutsi violence & bring another humanitarian disaster to the region. The last civil war in Burundi left at least 300,000 people dead.
Pierre NkurunzizaBurundiEuropean Union