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Sénat (Senate)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Parlement / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Sénat / Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Inama NshingmateKa / National Assembly
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 29 July 2005
Purpose of elections Elections for 34 indirectly elected members.
Since the military coup of September 1987 parliamentary elections had been held only once in Burundi in June 1993. The Front for Democracy in Burundi (Frodebu) a predominantly Hutu party secured 68 of 110 seats in the parliament in those elections which had recorded a voter turnout of 91 per cent. At the concurrent presidential election Mr. Melchior Ndadaye had been elected as the first Hutu president of Burundi.

The assassination of President Ndadaye on 21 October 1993 triggered years of ethnic violence during which an estimated 300 000 people were killed.

A peace deal was brokered in Arusha on 28 August 2000 by former South African president Nelson Mandela. The Arusha agreement provided for a bicameral transitional parliament which consisted of a National Assembly and a Senate. A new constitution was approved by referendum in February 2005. Under this constitution 60 per cent of the seats in the National Assembly are reserved for members of the Hutu ethnic group and 40 per cent for Tutsis which respectively make up 85 and 14 per cent of the population of 7 million people. A further three seats are reserved for the Twa ethnic group. Senate seats are shared equally between Hutus and Tutsis. A quota of 30 per cent of seats is reserved for women in both chambers.

After numerous delays elections for the National Assembly were held on 4 July 2005. In order to respect ethnic and gender balance for every three names in sequence on a party list only two could belong to the same ethnic group; and for each five names at least one had to be a woman.

In the run-up to the elections the former Hutu rebel group the National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Front for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) which had fought against the Tutsi-led army were well-placed having secured about 55 per cent of seats in the local elections held in June 2005. Other major parties included Frodebu led by the incumbent President Domitien Ndayizeye and the Tutsi-dominated Union for National Progress (Uprona).

Turnout was recorded at around 65 per cent lower than expected mainly due to fears that the rebel National Forces for Liberation (FNL) the last active Hutu rebel group would attack polling stations. The FNL had been responsible for a series of attacks during the recent local elections. A total of 2 700 United Nations troops local police and soldiers were deployed at polling stations and the election went off in relative peace. The United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) said there were no complaints of intimidation and reports of fraud if substantiated would not affect the overall results.

Final results confirmed a CNDD-FDD victory with 59 seats. The Frodebu obtained 25 seats while the Uprona won 10 seats. A total of 65 Hutus and 35 Tutsis were elected of whom 24 were women. In order to ensure the 60-40 ethnic split and 30 per cent quota for women a further 18 members including the three Twa representatives provided for under the Constitution were co-opted after the elections bringing the total to 69 Hutus and 46 Tutsis. In all 12 women - three Hutus eight Tutsis and one Twa - were co-opted.

After the preliminary results were released President Ndayizeye said he would hand over power once the National Assembly and the Senate elected a new president. The UPRONA also announced that it would accept the results.

Indirect elections for 34 seats in the Senate were held in local councils on 29 July 2005. The CNDD-FDD won 30 the Frodebu obtained three and the last seat went to the National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD). Eight women were elected. In order to respect the required 50-50 ethnic split the 30 per cent quota for women and three seats reserved for Twas 11 members were co-opted. In addition to the 45 members four former presidents - Domitien Ndayizeye Sylvestre Ntibantunganya Jean-Baptiste Bagaza and Pierre Buyoya - are members of the Senate bringing the total number to 49.

On 16 August 2005 the National Assembly elected Ms. Immaculée Nahayo of the CNDD-FDD as speaker. She thus became the first woman ever to hold the position in Burundi. On 16 August the Senate elected Mr. Gervais Rufyikiri of the CNDD-FDD as its Speaker.

On 19 August 2005 a joint session of both Houses elected Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza of the CNDD-FDD the only candidate as the country's new president. He was sworn in on 26 August 2005 officially ending the transition period in Burundi.
Voter turnout
Round no 129 July 2005
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
2'161 (67.01%)
Notes 3 225 deputies of local councils were called to chose 34 of 49 Senators among 119 candidates.
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Front for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD)
Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU)
National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Indirectly elected
National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Front for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) 30 30
Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) 3 3
National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD) 1 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
31 to 40 years
41 to 50 years
51 to 60 years
61 to 70 years
Distribution of seats according to profession
Educators 29
Engineers/PC experts 4
Others 4
Economists 2
Legal professions 2
Scientists 2
Liberal professions (including artists authors) and sports professionals 2
Military/police officers 2
Source: Senate (01.01.2010)
The "Distribution of seats according to sex" includes 11 co-opted members and four former Presidents.
8 women were indirectly elected. Nine others were co-opted.

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