Burundi VP Sindimwo joins 2020 presidential race

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Gaston Sindimwo

The first Vice-President and proud servant of the Republic of Burundi, H.E Gaston Sindimwo, has joined the race for president in the upcoming May 2020 general elections.

Sindimwo was Saturday February 01, 2020 chosen at the congress of his UPRONA Party to represent the party in the presidential elections.

UPRONA party

The Union for National Progress [UPRONA] is a nationalist political party in Burundi, receiving most of its support from members of the Tutsi ethnic group.

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It is celebrated for its role in gaining Burundian independence.

Currently headed by Abel Gashatsi (President) and Charles Nditije (President), the party was founded in January 1960 by Louis Rwagasore, UPRONA’s most famous Prime Minister and Burundian National Hero who was assassinated in 1961).

Its Hutu members including Pierre Ngendandumwe, became Prime Minister of Burundi.

The party was taken over by President Michel Micombero in a coup d’état and became a pillar of the military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1966 to 1993.

In 1993, UPRONA placed second in contested elections to Melchior Ndadaye’s FRODEBU.

Since 1993, in the case of failure to be elected, UPRONA has always made sure to secure the position of Vice President or Prime Minister and some of the top positions in the government.

UPRONA President Pierre Buyoya handed over power to Hutu leader Domitien Ndayizeye of the Front for Democracy in Burundi (a Hutu-based party) on 30 April 2003.

At the legislative elections in 2005, the party won 7.2% and 15 out of 118 seats.

During the 2010 elections, UPRONA boycotted councillors’ and presidential elections, but decided to participate in the legislative elections claiming the need to form an opposition bloc in Parliament and to better compete in the 2015 elections.

2020 elections

UPRONA’s front runner in the 2020 elections Sindimwo (born 1965) is currently serving as the First Vice President of Burundi, under President Pierre Nkurunziza, since his inauguration on August 20, 2015.

Gen Maj Evariste, the ruling party candidate

Sindimwo is also the Secretary-General of (UPRONA) and was previously the Deputy-Private Secretary at the Office of the First Vice-President.

Sindimwo will be up against the ruling National Defense Council of Democracy – Forces for the Defence of Democracy [CNDD-FDD] party candidate General-Major Évariste Ndayishimiye.

Ndayishimiye was picked at the close of last month to replace President Nkurunziza as CNDD-FDD candidate who will be stepping down and retiring.  

“We wish [Ndayishimiye] him success,” Sindimwo tweeted on January 26, 2020.

In the same spirit, Ndayishimiye also welcomed his challenger with a tweet on February 1: “I warmly congratulate HE Mr. Gaston Sindimwo…We are delighted that a patriot has been chosen.”

Ndayishimiye has been serving as the Secretary General of the CNDD-FDD Party.

CNDD-FDD has been the winning party in the 2005, 2010 and 2015 elections in Burundi.

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