Burundi News

Burundi's ruling party wins district elections

* Nkurunziza’s party wins 64 percent of district vote

* Thirteen parties reject results

BUJUMBURA, May 28 (Reuters) - Burundi’s ruling party CNDD-FDD, won the coffee producer’s district elections with 64 percent of the vote, official returns showed on Friday, a result seen as a sign of stability.

Monday’s vote was the first of a series of votes in which the tiny central African nation will also choose a president on June 28 and representatives to parliament on July 23. District polls often indicate how the rest of the vote will go.

The national independent electoral commission (CENI) said former rebel Forces for National Liberation group (FNL) led by Agathon Rwasa obtained 14.15 percent of the vote while Uprona finished third with 6.25 percent.

“We call the results provisional just to give time to political parties which have some claims to present them for analysis,” said CENI spokesman Prosper Ntahogwamiye.

“We assume that the vote was free and fair. But any party which protests the results has four days from now to give evidence,” he added after announcing the results to the media.

The opposition immediately rejected the results. In a joint statement, 13 parties said the number of votes was higher than the number of voters in many areas. They said they had seized four ballot boxes hidden in a house.

They demanded the cancellation of the results by the electoral commission to pave way for another election.

The European Union’s observer team said the election met international standards.

A political party that gets over 50 percent of the votes in the communal election in the first round is likely to win presidential and parliamentary votes. President Pierre Nkurunziza will seek re-election, challenged by Rwasa.

The country of 8 million has enjoyed relative peace since the last Hutu rebel group, the Forces for National Liberation laid down arms last year and joined the government.

For a Factbox on Brurundi’s district elections, click [ID:nLDE64K19M] (Editing by Mark Heinrich)