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Burundi's Main Opposition Party Pulls out of Presidential Election


Burundi's main opposition party says it is pulling out of this month's scheduled presidential election because of concerns that the vote will be rigged.

UPRONA party chairman Bonaventure Niyoyankana says his party's candidate, First Vice President Yves Sahinguvu, will withdraw his candidacy. That decision leaves incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza as the only candidate in the June 28 election.

Five other opposition parties pulled out Tuesday because they believe the vote will be rigged. Burundi's National Electoral Commission says the election will go ahead despite the boycott.

UPRONA joined the other parties in accusing the electoral commission of failing to prevent fraud during local elections last month. The ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy won 64 percent of the vote.

The opposition rejected that result, but European observers said the elections met international standards.

The leader of the rebel group-turned political party Forces for National Liberation, Agathon Rwasa, was one of the candidates who withdrew from the election Tuesday.

These elections are aimed at capping a transition to democracy started by peace agreements that ended a civil war in 2005.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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