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Updated Jun 9, 2020
Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza, seen here at a campaign rally in Bujumbura on May 16, died on June 8.

The official Twitter page of the government of Burundi announced just after 16.00 local time on June 9 that President Pierre Nkurunziza had died after suffering cardiac arrest the day before at Cinquantenaire Hospital in Karusi. He was only fifty-five years old.


The country held a presidential election on May 20


Nkurunziza had been in power in Burundi since 2005. The country held presidential and general elections on May 20 despite the threat of COVID-19. In fact, just days before the elections, the World Health Organization’s top official in the country, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, and two other experts coordinating the COVID-19 response were ordered to leave the country after the WHO had raised concerns over political rallies.

On June 4, the constitutional court declared Évariste Ndayishimiye as the winner, after rejecting an appeal by the main opposition leader, Agathon Rwasa.

Ndayishimiye, a former army general who was nominated by the ruling party to succeed Nkurunziza, was to be sworn in in August for a seven-year term.


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