A chance to demonstrate Burundi’s commitment to peace and democracy in the aftermath of civil war, the 2010 presidential elections were the first since Burundi’s last remaining rebel group demobilized and agreed to transform into a political party called FNL. But on voting day, June 28th, incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza was the lone candidate on the ballot. In early June, six opposition candidates had pulled out of the elections, citing intimidation and rigging by the government in previous district elections.
Just hours before polls opened, a grenade exploded near the offices of the European Union election observer mission. More than 40 grenade attacks in Burundi have killed five people and injured 60 in the last several weeks.
Widely considered the key challenger to President Nkurunziza, Agathon Rwasa, the head of FNL, has gone into hiding and is believed to be in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both Nkurunziza and Rwasa were leaders in different Hutu rebel groups, which fought against the Tutsi-dominated government and army in the civil war between 1993 and 2000.