Having announced earlier that he will not seek a fourth five-year presidential term, Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza named Évariste Ndayishimiye as the ruling CNDD-FDD party’s candidate for the May 20 elections.
As the secretary-general of the party, Ndayishimiye is an influential political figure; in some respects he is considered a crucial pillar of the party’s 15-year rule following a brutal civil war. Of Hutu background, Nyadishimiye narrowly escaped an attack on his school by Hutu radicals during the 1994 conflict. Like Nkurunziza, he joined up with Hutu rebels and eight years later became one of the military leaders of the former Hutu rebellion that signed the universal ceasefire in 2003, which formally ended the conflict. Nkurunziza was elected president in 2005 and has remained in power ever since.
During Nkurunziza’s tenure, Ndayishimiye was his close ally and held a number of influential positions, including minister of interior and public security, and head of military affairs in the president’s office.