Burundi - Political parties



Before independence, no fewer than 23 political parties were officially registered. Of these, only two retained political significance in the years following independence: the National Progress and Unity Party (Parti de l'Unité et du Progrès National— UPRONA), founded by Prince Louis Rwagasore, and the People's Party (Parti du Peuple—PP), an all-Hutu party. UPRONA, which initially controlled 58 seats in the National Assembly out of a total of 64, was soon torn by internecine leadership rivalries. In time, these rivalries took on the qualities of a racial feud between Tutsi and Hutu. In the National Assembly, the PP merged with the Hutu wing of UPRONA to form the so-called Monrovia Group, while the Tutsi wing of UPRONA referred to itself as the Casablanca Group.

In June 1965, legislative elections were held for the first time since independence. UPRONA won 21 seats, the PP 10, and independents 2. President Micombero, a Tutsi, proclaimed UPRONA to be the sole legal political party by a decree promulgated on 23 November 1966. On 1 November 1976, leaders of the coup that deposed Micombero announced that UPRONA had been dissolved, but in 1979, the party was incorporated into the government structure. According to the 1981 constitution, it was the only legal political organization. The president of UPRONA was president of the republic and also head of the party's 70-member Central Committee and 8-member Politburo.

Fifty-two members of the National Assembly were elected under the auspices of UPRONA in October 1982 from 104 candidates, about 75% of them Tutsi, chosen by local UPRONA committees. Several cabinet members and high party officials were defeated. In September 1987, following the coup that ousted President Bagaza, all members of UPRONA were dismissed.

The 1 June 1993 presidential election and the 29 June parliamentary election that year led to the defeat of UPRONA. President Ndadaye's party, the Burundi Democratic Front (FRODEBU) received 72% of the vote and 65 of parliament's 81 seats. UPRONA won the remaining seats with 21% of the ballots cast. Other parties include the Burundi People's Party (RPB), the Party for the Reconciliation of the People (PRP), and the People's Party (PP).

Newer, smaller partieshav emerged since 199, including: the Burundi African Alliance for the Salvation (ABASA), Rally for Democracy and Economic and Social Development (RADDES), Party for National Redress (PARENA), and the People's Reconciliation Party (PRP).

Smaller rebel factions with political influence include the CNDD-FDD (Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Forces pour la defense de la democratie—National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy) and the Palipehutu-FNL (Forces for National Liberation).

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