Burundi rebels say they won't disrupt upcoming constitution vote

[JURIST] A spokesman for the militant Forces for National Liberation (FNL) said Tuesday that the rebel group will not disrupt a referendum on Burundi's new constitution, scheduled to be held later this month. The referendum, part of the peace process to end civil war between the ethnic Hutu majority and the politically dominant Tutsi majority, is a preliminary step to holding the first democratic elections in Burundi in over a decade. Critics have said that the voting will not be fair because the Hutu FNL planned to attack voters, but a FNL spokesman said Tuesday that, "People think we are going to cause chaos during the referendum vote. I hereby confirm that FNL has no intention to attack voters." Instead, the FNL is preparing for upcoming negotiations with the government [JURIST report, scroll down]. Reuters has more. In a related story, three Tutsi-parties in Burundi are calling on Burundians to vote against the proposed constitution, saying the draft is exclusionist and dictatorial. Chairman of the Union Pour le Progress National party has said "Voting no to the referendum is not a negation of democracy or peace, but rather saying no to exclusion and a refusal of dictatorship in Burundi." IRIN has more.



 

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