General Principles for the Conduct of the 2015 Elections

10 Jul 2014

General Principles for the Conduct of the 2015 Elections

We, Representatives of the Government of Burundi, the CENI, political parties and actors, gathered in Bujumbura on 9 June 2014, in the presence of civil society, and bilateral and multilateral partners;

Considering relevant provisions of the Constitution of Burundi, keeping in mind the Arusha Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Burundi, relevant international conventions and treaties related to elections, the law on political parties, the electoral law, and the recommendations of the roadmap adopted by consensus in March 2013;

Recalling the outcome of the workshop held on 20 May 2014 on the 2nd Evaluation of the implementation of the roadmap;

Bearing in mind that political tensions often tend to be exacerbated during electoral periods;

Cognizant of our roles and responsibilities in strengthening social cohesion, peace and stability, and;

Mindful of the need to organize free, fair, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections in 2015,

Hereby agree as follows:

1. The government, political parties and actors, civil society, the media and youth affiliated to political parties undertake to create an environment conducive for free, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections ;

2. The Government commits to ensure a safe and secure environment that protects all political parties and actors, facilitate the organization of their political activities, the free participation in the electoral process of the population and all those involved in elections, including candidates in various elections, militants, observers, media representatives, and members of the CENI and its decentralized bodies.

3. Political parties and coalitions and independent candidates must be able to carry out their activities freely during the electoral campaign period throughout the national territory, in accordance with the laws in force, which must be applied equally to all political parties before, during and after the elections.

4. Political parties and actors undertake to sensitize their constituencies, especially the youth, to respect civil and political rights as well as democratic values and principles, and to denounce, condemn, and reject all forms of violence, verbal and /or physical, as a mode of political expression.

5. The CENI undertakes to revise the voters’ list in a transparent manner and to issue voter cards to all citizens who meet the requirements;

6. The Government, political parties and independent candidates, especially youths affiliated to political parties, shall refrain from disrupting meetings of any political party during the entire electoral process and to respect the headquarters and symbols of other political parties. Furthermore, the Administration shall refrain from interfering in the counting of votes and from any manipulation of results;

7. The CENI shall ensure and guarantee that political parties, coalitions, independent candidates and different shades of political opinion are represented within the CEPI and CECI. Furthermore, the CENI shall put in place an inclusive consultative mechanism for election observation and identify any obstacles to the smooth running of the elections in view of addressing them peacefully;

8. The National Communication Council (CNC) commits to ensuring equal access to public media without discrimination to political parties, coalitions and independents candidates taking part in the elections and the legal framework in force shall guarantee freedom of expression, assembly and association;

9. Political parties, coalitions and independent candidates shall refrain from using public funds and other State resources for their campaigns, and public buildings, such as schools, shall not be used for political debates or enrollment campaigns for political party membership, in accordance with laws in force;

10. The CENI, political parties, coalitions, independent candidates, civil society and the media shall ensure that the tally sheets are posted at the polling stations and a copy is submitted to the relevant authority, and that agents of political parties and independent candidates are also given a copy of the same immediately after the poll;

11. Political parties, coalitions and independent candidates undertake to abide by the election results and to settle all electoral disputes through legal and peaceful means;

12. The media should work professionally in conformity with the ethics of the trade. They should avoid all kinds of manipulation of information on the electoral process especially spreading rumors or publishing results before they are announced officially by the relevant authorities.

13. Civil society should remain neutral and not interfere in the affairs of political parties.

These general principles have been adopted by consensus and shall serve as a code of conduct.

Done in Bujumbura, 9 June 2014