Burundi’s president registered on Friday to run for a third term, his spokesman said, a move likely to stoke anger among protesters opposing his bid for another five years in office.
Crowds have taken to the streets and clashed with police for almost two weeks, saying Pierre Nkurunziza’s plan to run again violates the constitution and a peace deal that ended an ethnically charged civil war in 2005.
The constitutional court ruled this week that he could stand, saying his first term did not count because he was picked by parliament not elected by the people. Critics say the court is biased and have vowed to keep up protests.
The former Hutu rebel-turned-president “just handed in the file”, his spokesman Gervais Abayeho told Reuters in a text message.
Saturday is the deadline for candidates to submit applications to the election commission.
Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term has plunged Burundi into its worst crisis since the civil war that pitted rebels from the ethnic Hutu majority against the then Tutsi-led army and killed about 300,000 people. It is also raising tensions in a region with a history of ethnic conflict.
Demonstrators in the capital have burnt tyres and hurled stones at police, who have fired tear gas, water cannon and, say protesters, live rounds. Police deny shooting.
The streets were calmer on Friday. Local media havereported some protests outside Bujumbura in recent days, but these have not been independently confirmed. The government says the nation outside the capital is calm.