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Burundi (/bəˈrʊndi/ (About this soundlisten), /-ˈrʌn-/), officially the Republic of Burundi (Kirundi: Republika y'Uburundi, [buˈɾundi]; French: République du Burundi, [buʁundi] or [byʁyndi]), is a landlocked country amid the African Great Lakes region where East and Central Africa converge. It is bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Lake Tanganyika lies along its southwestern border. The capital is Gitega, having moved from Bujumbura in February 2019.

The Twa, Hutu and Tutsi peoples have lived in Burundi for at least 500 years. For more than 200 of those years, Burundi was an independent kingdom, until the beginning of the 20th century, when Germany colonised the region. After the First World War and Germany's defeat, it ceded the territory to Belgium. Both Germans and Belgians ruled Burundi and Rwanda as a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi. Despite common misconceptions, Burundi and Rwanda had never been under common rule until the time of European colonisation.

Burundi gained independence in 1962 and initially had a monarchy, but a series of assassinations, coups and a general climate of regional instability culminated in the establishment of a republic and one-party state in 1966. Bouts of ethnic cleansing and ultimately two civil wars and genocides during the 1970s and again in the 1990s left the country undeveloped and its population as one of the world's poorest. The presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, both Hutus, died together when their aeroplane was shot down in April 1994. 2015 witnessed large-scale political strife as President Pierre Nkurunziza opted to run for a third term in office, a coup attempt failed and the country's parliamentary and presidential elections were broadly criticised by members of the international community.

The sovereign state of Burundi political system is that of a presidential representative democratic republic based upon a multi-party state. The President of Burundi is the head of state and head of government. There are currently 21 registered parties in Burundi. On 13 March 1992, Tutsi coup leader Pierre Buyoya established a constitution, which provided for a multi-party political process and reflected multi-party competition. Six years later, on 6 June 1998, the constitution was changed, broadening National Assembly's seats and making provisions for two vice-presidents. Because of the Arusha Accord, Burundi enacted a transitional government in 2000. In October 2016, Burundi informed the UN of its intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.

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The Senate is the upper chamber of Parliament in Burundi. It consists of no fewer than 37 and no more than 54 members who serve 5-year terms. The current Senate was elected on 24 July 2015 and consists of 43 members.

In each of the country's 18 provinces, two Senators (one Hutu and one Tutsi) are chosen by electoral colleges of communal councilors. Voting takes place using a three round system. In the first two rounds, a candidate must receive a super-majority (two-thirds, or 67% of the vote) to be elected. If no candidate is elected in these rounds, a third round is organized for the two leading candidates, of which the candidate receiving the majority of votes is elected. Three Senators represent the Twa ethnic group and additional members may be co-opted to meet the 30% gender representation quota for women. Former heads of state automatically become Senators. Read more...

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Lakes of north Burundi: Clockwise startet at 9°°: Lake Cohoha (south), Lake Rugwero, Lake Kanzigiri and Lake Rwihinda

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Pierre Nkurunziza - World Economic Forum on Africa 2008.jpg

Pierre Nkurunziza (born 18 December 1963) is the President of Burundi and chairman of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD). The CNDD was an ethnic Hutu rebel group in Burundi, but transformed itself into a political party.

Nkurunziza was born in 1963 in Burundi's capital city of Bujumbura. He attended primary school in Ngozi province and secondary school in Kitega before graduating from the University of Burundi in 1990. At the university, he majored in education and sports.

His father, Eustache Ngabisha, was elected to the Parliament of Burundi in 1965 and later became governor of two provinces before being killed in 1972 during a period of ethnic violence that claimed the lives of over 100,000 Burundians.

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