Brussels, 28 May 2010
Burundi: Statement by HR/VP Ashton and Commissioner Piebalgs on the communal elections of 24 May
28 May 2010, Brussels - Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, made the following statement:
"Last Monday, with the communal elections, Burundi set an important first and hopeful step in an election process which can lay the basis for sustainable democracy in the country. I congratulate the Burundian population for their massive participation in the elections and the electoral authorities for their continuous, successful efforts in their organisation notwithstanding huge logistical challenges. I particularly welcome the peaceful and dignified context in which the elections took place, and I trust that all political parties and other stakeholders will continue to act with responsibility and in full respect of the law in the coming days and weeks ahead of the Presidential elections of 28 June”.
The High Representative called on all political parties to remain engaged in the electoral cycle as other crucial elections are still to be held. She recommends the Burundi Authorities to strengthen the legal framework regarding electoral disputes in time for the forthcoming elections. The High Representative also invited the electoral authorities to act with full transparency in the publication of results.
Commissioner for Development Piebalgs underlined the importance of the communal elections and notably the successful management of a complex process by the Burundian electoral and political institutions. “The current election process can play a crucial role in consolidating democracy in Burundi, including at the local level, and in strengthening both peace and its social and economic development. The EU will continue to encourage Burundi’s efforts to achieve these objectives.”
HR/VP Ashton concludes: “I congratulate the excellent work done so far done by Chief Observer Renate Weber (MEP) and her team. I also thank the authorities of Burundi for the excellent relationship with the observation mission. The mission will stay on to observe the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.”
The EU has deployed since 25 April an Election Observation Mission to Burundi which will cover the election process including the communal elections held on 24 May, Presidential (28 June) and Parliamentary (23 July) elections.