July 30, 2010 / 5:28 PM / 10 years ago

Burundi ruling party wins senate by landslide

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Burundi’s ruling party CNDD-FDD won a vote for the senate by a landslide, further tightening its grip on power, official results showed on Friday.

President Pierre Nkurunziza’s party won 32 out of 34 seats allocated to senators indirectly elected by district councillors in the central African nation’s 41-seat upper house of parliament.

All opposition parties bar one boycotted the election, the fourth in a series of polls held since May that are seen as a test of stability for the coffee producer after years of conflict between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi population.

The Tutsi-dominated UPRONA party — the only party that took part in the election — secured 2 seats, the national independent electoral commission (CENI) said.

Four former presidents and three members of the small ethnic minority Twa will also have seats in the 41-seat senate.

Voters have already picked the district councillors, the president and members of the lower house of parliament in direct elections, all won by the ruling party with wide margins.

Analysts say the domination of one party puts democratic debate at risk in a country ranked by graft watchdog Transparency International as the most corrupt in East Africa.

The next upper house will have 17 senators from the Hutu side and 17 from the Tutsi side, electoral commission chairman Pierre Claver Ndayicariye told reporters.

Most opposition parties boycotted the presidential and parliamentary ballots, after district elections they said were rigged.

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