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» 01.03.2010 - Burundi opposition fields woman candidate for elections
» 22.01.2010 - Legislators discuss common market protocol in Burundi
» 11.12.2009 - Burundi faces funding shortfall for elections
» 30.10.2009 - Last Burundian refugees repatriated
» 16.10.2009 - HRW calls on Burundi to halt deportation of refugees
» 02.10.2009 - US awards contract for the construction of new embassy in Burundi
» 30.07.2009 - SA formally withdraws from Burundi
» 14.05.2009 - Over 200 political prisoners in Burundi released

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Ex-ruling party pulls out of Burundi government

Misanet / IRIN, 27 March - Three Burundian ministers representing the Front pour la democratie au Burundi (FRODEBU) in President Pierre Nkurunziza's government reported to work on Monday despite a directive by their party to pull out of government. FRODEBU had decided to boycott Burundi's current government, blaming it for democratic shortcomings.

Health Minister Barnabe Mbonimpa, Agriculture Minister Elie Buzoya and Environment Minister Odette Kayitesi have reportedly refused to comply with FRODEBU's directive to boycott their duties.

On Saturday, FRODEBU Chairman Leonce Ngendakumana announced the party was withdrawing from the government to protest what he termed the government's failure to abide by democratic principles.

Despite the directive to the ministers, FRODEBU did not pull out of the National Assembly and the Senate, respectively the lower and upper chambers of parliament. Mr Ngendakumana said the party's MPs and senators were elected and, therefore, had the people's mandate, which they must keep.

Mr Ngendakumana said his party championed democracy and could not continue to support "the decisions of a government, which is not keen to the respect of democracy and the restoration of the rule of law."

He said the ruling Conseil national pour la defence de a democratie-Forces de defence de a democratie (CNDD-FDD) - a former rebel group turned political party - was making decisions without consulting other parties represented in government. FRODEBU also accused CNDD-FDD of frequently violating the constitution and other laws, especially those regarding respect of human rights.

Mr Ngendakumana said there were reports of frequent arbitrary arrests, imprisonment and summary executions of people suspected of collaborating with the country's only remaining active rebel group, the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL), which is led by Agathon Rwasa.

Upon assuming power in August 2005 following a series of elections, President Nkurunziza gave FRODEBU three ministerial posts but the party claimed it was entitled to five in accordance with its performance in the general elections. FRODEBU came second in the elections that were largely won by CNDD-FDD. Of the 121 MPs in the National Assembly, 36 are from FRODEBU.

Government spokesman Ramadhan Karenga said on Monday it was too early to comment on FRODEBU's withdrawal from government. It still remained to be seen whether the party's boycott would become effective and long-lasting.

The chairman of the Observatory of Government Action, Christophe Sebudandi, said on Monday that FRODEBU's claim regarding violations of human rights were grounded, as shown by a recent report by the New York-based advocacy group Human Right Watch. He said CNDD-FDD did not respect the country's constitution in its distribution of ministerial posts.

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