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Burundi's Ruling Party Picks General as Presidential Hopeful

FILE - In this photo taken on May 22, 2018, the secretary-general of the Burundi's ruling party CNDD-FDD Evariste Ndayishimiye speaks to the media in Bujumbura.

Burundi's ruling party has chosen an army general to be its candidate in the presidential election set for May, signaling that the country's president will now retire after serving three terms.

Gen. Evariste Ndayishimiye was chosen Sunday during a national conference for the ruling CNDD-FDD party in the rural province of Gitega.

The rise of Ndayishimiye means President Pierre Nkurunziza will now retire after presiding over a disputed third term that sparked violence and forced hundreds of thousands to flee the tiny central African country.

Ndayishimiye, a Nkurunziza ally, has been serving as the ruling party's secretary-general.

Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader, took power in 2005 at the end of a deadly civil war. His influence could still linger after the election, since he could receive the title of "paramount leader" under draft legislation approved by the government last week.