Political pluralism and well-functioning political parties are crucial to sustaining democracy. In a democracy elections allow for open political competition in order to win votes. Thus elections are a necessary but not sufficient condition to consolidate democracy. The 2010 elections in Burundi showed that elections, although crucial to the estbalishment of democracy and peace, are not a guarantee in themselves that this goal will be attained. Rather than being a step towards more democracy and peace Burundi’s last elections gave an overwhelming majority to one party, the CNDD-FDD, and marginalised the opposition because of its decision to boycott the process as a way of protesting against the results. With one party dominating all institutions and with an authoritarian response to opposition parties who, in the absence of dialogue, are increasingly considering the option of using guns to voice their concerns, democracy and peace are at risk. This article analyses the causes and consequences of Burundi’s 2010 elections in terms of political environment and behaviour and against the background of the country’s recent electoral history.
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Categories: Journal of African Elections