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Referendum extends Burundi's presidential term limits

The results of a referendum in Burundi this week, which has been criticised by the US, potentially grants current President Pierre Nkurunziza the power to stay in office until 2034.

The country’s election chief reported that 73 percent has voted in favour for extending the presidential term from five years, to seven. Pierre Claver Ndyaicariye, commission chairman has said that 96 percent of the 4.7 million registered to vote, has voted in this referendum.

Yet, opposition campaign workers were refused access to polling stations, claimed by Evariste Ngayimpenda from the Amizero y’Abarundi opposition coalition. “We reject these results and we will file a complaint because the process was marred by lot of irregularities, even during the counting of the votes,” he said.

Burundi had suspended broadcasts by the BBC and Voice of America two week prior to the referendum.

The United States of America criticised this referendum. “The government allowed vigorous campaigning by the opposition during the designated two-week campaign period, but numerous cases of harassment and repression of referendum opponents in the months preceding the vote contributed to a climate of fear and intimidation,” the US State Department said in a statement.

See more from Al Jazeera here and Reuters here.