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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK
Ex-Hutu rebels win Burundi poll
Burundian woman cast ballot in 4 July parliamentary election
Turnout on Monday was not as high as last month, but "acceptable"
Burundi's former Hutu rebel group have won a parliamentary majority after Monday's elections, officials say.

The FDD won 58%, with President Domitien Ndayizeye's Frodebu party coming second with 22%, they say.

The FDD has said it wants to tackle poverty and promote reconciliation after 12 years of ethnic conflict between the Tutsi-led army and rebels.

The MPs choose a new president in August, tipped to be FDD leader Pierre Nkurunziza, an ex-university lecturer.

Correspondents say the FDD has more Tutsi officials than other mainly Hutu parties and Burundians hope this will mean they can reduce tension between the two communities.
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
FDD - 59 seats
Frodebu - 24 seats
Uprona - 10 seats
Others - 7 seats
"First of all, we need to reinforce national reconciliation so that Burundians can think about a state nation, not a state ethnic group," FDD spokesperson Karenga Ramadhani told the BBC.

The last time a Hutu won presidential elections, in 1993, the Tutsi-led army staged a coup but correspondents say this is not likely now, as African leaders would not tolerate a military takeover.

No intimidation

The polling was largely peaceful with turnout put at 65%.

The main party representing the Tutsi minority, Uprona, came in third place.

Pierre Nkurunziza (l) with FDD fighters
Former rebel leader Pierre Nkurunziza (l) is expected to be Burundi's next leader
Carolyn McAskie, head of the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB), said turnout had fallen from the 80% seen in last month's local elections but was still "totally acceptable".

Reports of fraud were "not sufficient... to affect the overall result", she told a press conference.

There had also been no complaints of intimidation, which was encouraging, she said.

Astere Kana, a spokesman for Burundi's independent electoral commission, said the voting had "ended peacefully".

Many voters had feared attacks by the FNL, Burundi's last active Hutu rebel group.

During last month's polls, it was blamed for a series of shootings and grenade attacks.

Power shared

Polling stations were guarded on Monday by Burundian security forces and UN troops.

A Burundian soldier was slightly injured when a hand grenade exploded in the capital, Bujumbura, as ballots were being counted, Burundi's deputy police chief Col Helmenegilde Mimenya told the AFP news agency.

The BBC's Rob Walker in Bujumbura says the elections mark a fundamental shift of power in Burundi.

For much of the time since independence, control of the state has been in the hands of a narrow Tutsi elite.

Now, after a peace process lasting five years, Burundians are finally voting to a elect a new assembly in which power will be shared.

Forty per cent of the seats in the 100-member assembly are reserved for the Tutsi minority and 60% for Hutus.



SEE ALSO:
Burundi voting for new assembly
04 Jul 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Burundi
26 Feb 04 |  Country profiles


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