Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza casts his ballot at a polling centre during the constitutional amendment referendum at School Ecofo de Buye in Mwumba commune in Ngozi province
Bujumbura - Burundi's Constitutional Court on Thursday validated the victory of the "yes"  vote in the referendum on extending the president's term of office.
Burundians voted overwhelmingly in favour of the extension with 73.24% saying "yes" while the "no" vote received 19.37%.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza is now set to  appoint a new cabinet. The new constitution stipulates there will be  only one vice president who is supposed to be of a different ethnic background from the president. The new Constitution also provides for  a Prime Minister who will be responsible for the cabinet.

Commenting on the opposition coalition known as Amozero y’Abarundi  (Hope of Burundians), the President of the Constitutional Court,  Charles Ndagijimana, said that the file from the opposition group  which was campaigning against the Constitutional change was not solid enough  to change the results.

Nkurunziza is expected to sign into law the new Constitution as  soon as possible, and this may be followed by a cabinet  reshuffle to appoint his Prime Minister and vice president.

Under the new Constitution, Nkurunziza will be allowed to run  for re-election for two consecutive seven-year  mandates from the 2020 elections and would stay on as President until 2034.

Burundi independent coalition MP leader Pierre Celestin Ndikumana said they were saddened by the ruling. The opposition had asked the Court to 
nullify the vote.

Burundi's exiled opposition said last weekend that it was planning a strong challenge against the Government as the vote blocked East  African Community backed peace talks between the Burundian  stakeholders.

The Government says that while it would attend east African backed peace  talks, it is not ready for a unity or transitional government.

Under the new Constitution, the independent coalition will not participate in the running of the country. Five Ministers had come from the independent coalition  led by former rebel Agathon Rwasa, although they will no longer have a presence in cabinet .

Foreign Service