Elections are being held in Burundi despite an opposition boycott and weeks of protests over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s plan to seek a third term.

Polls in the parliamentary and local elections opened on Monday morning.

Gunfire has been heard nightly in the capital, Bujumbura, and scores of people have been killed in unrest since a failed coup attempt last month.

The presidential election was due in June but was put back to 15 July after pressure from regional leaders.

The African Union (AU) is not sending observers to the general election, saying conditions for a free and fair vote have not been met.

The AU and the UN had called for the election to be postponed. But the government rejected the demands, saying conditions were stable enough for a vote, while a delay could create a dangerous political vacuum.

Dozens of people have been killed in the unrest in Burundi

Poll boycott

Several polling stations had been attacked in the capital and in the provinces, according to police officials quoted by the AFP news agency on Monday.

Many in Bujumbura say the unrest has prevented them from registering to vote, adding that they feel the outcome of the process is already known.

On Sunday, the speaker of parliament, Pie Ntavyohanyuma, said he had left the country because he feared he would be killed.

Tensions in Burundi have forced more than 100,000 people to flee this year.

Leading opposition parties and civil society groups are boycotting the poll.

The opposition says Mr Nkurunziza’s attempt to run for office again contravenes the constitution, which states a president can only serve two terms.

But Mr Nkurunziza’s supporters argue that he is entitled to another term because he was first elected by parliament in 2005 – not voters. The Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the president.

Some 3.8 million Burundians are eligible to vote.

via Burundi holds general election amid tensions – BBC News.

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