Burundi’s authorities were counting votes on Tuesday, a day after holding a parliamentary election that was boycotted by the opposition and marred by sporadic gunfire and blasts.
The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said nearly 10,000 fled over the weekend before Monday’s vote, with some trekking through the bush after Burundi closed its borders, determined to escape its worst political crisis since civil war ended in 2005.
The United States said it was disappointed that the government did not heed calls to delay the vote due to weeks of unrest triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office. Opponents say the bid is unconstitutional.
The government says it will not again postpone the presidential vote set for July 15 after it was pushed back several weeks. It says the parliamentary vote went smoothly and that next month’s election will be the same.
The electoral commission CENI was expected to announce results on Wednesday or Thursday, spokesman Prosper Ntahogwamiye told Reuters, adding he did not have figure for the turnout yet.
But there was little doubt about the outcome given the opposition boycott. Nkurunziza’s CNDD-FDD party dominated the outgoing parliament with 81 of the 106 seats and was expected to secure another majority this time.
Although the opposition coalition did not campaign and boycotted the race, names of the parties were still on the ballot paper. A CENI official told state radio their votes would be counted and they would be awarded any seats they won.