Burundi: Independent National Electoral Commission

Updated February 2013

The Independent National Electoral Commission (Commission électorale nationale indépendante; CENI) is established by the Constitution Post-Transition de la Republique du Burundi (2005, Article 89) as an independent body governing the conduct of elections. Article 89 lays down the purpose of the CENI, namely to ensure that the electoral process is conducted by a free, impartial and and independent body. Décret no 100/22 2009 determines that the seat of the CENI is located in Bujumbura


The CNE must be composed of five independent people appointed by presidential decree after the members have been ratified by the National Assembly and the Senate with a 75% majority each (Constitution Post-Transition 2005, Article 90; Décret no 100/22 2009, Article 6). Members who resign or become incapaitated must be replaced within a month by the same procedures (Décret no 100/22 2009, Article 21). The CENI consists of a Chairperson, a Deputy chair and three members holding the portfolios of electoral operations, logistics and legal affairs, finances and administration and civic education and communication respectively (Décret no 100/22 2009, Article 5).

Term of Office

The members of CENI serve a three year term, but terms may be renewed without restriction (Décret no 100/22 2009, Article 19).


The CENI has the following functions (Constitution Post-Transition 2005, Article 91; Décret no 100/22 2009, Article 11):

  • To organize national level, communes and local elections.
  • To ensure that these elections are free, fair and transparent.
  • To proclaim the provisional results of the elections within the time define by the law.
  • To promulgate arrangements, the code of conduct and the technical details, including the site of the polling stations and the hours to which they are to open.
  • To hear complaints concerning the compliance with the electoral rules and to take action pursuant to it.
  • To ensure that the electoral campaigns do not encourage ethnic violence or violate the Constitution.
  • To ensure the respect of the provisions of this Constitution relating to ethnicity and gender and to address disputes in this respect.

The decisions of thre CENI should be made by concensus or, if this is cannot be attained, by a four-fifths majority (Décret no 100/22 2009, Article 11).

Supporting Structures

Loi No 1/22 (2009, 38) outlines the supporting structures. The CENI must form Provincial and Communal Commissions whose members must be appointed so as to ensure impartiality and ethnic balance. The appointments must be publically displayed at the offices at each level and, within three days of the appointments, a meeting with the representatives of the political parties working in the district concerned must be held to announce them. Objections to the appointments may be addressed to the Chairperson of the superior Commission within three days of the briefing. The members of the provincial and communal Commissions are appointed for a period of one year, two months before the start of the election period and two months before polling day respectively (Décret no 100/22 2009, Articles 16, 17, 19). After the expiry of their terms continuity is maintained by the retention of a skeleton staff at provincial and commune offices (Décret no 100/22 2009, Articles 16, 17, 19).


The following members were overwhelmingly approved by the Houses of Parliament in February 2009 (CENI 2013):

  • Ambassador Pierre Claver Ndayicariye (Chair)
  • Spès Caritas Ndironkeye (Deputy Chair)
  • Prosper Ntahorwamiye (civic education and communication)
  • Iluminata Ndabahagamye (finance and administration)
  • Jean Anastase Hicuburundi (electoral operations, logistics and legal affairs)


The CENI is autonomous in respect of the management of its finances, but is required to supply the President and the Minister of the Interior an annual financial report (Décret no 100/22 2009, Article 3). The sources of the CENI's income are (Décret no 100/22 2009, Article 20):

  • Funding supplied through the budget of the state.
  • Funding from international donors.
  • Gifts and legacies.

Official website

Commission électorale nationale indépendante: http://www.ceniburundi.bi/ [opens new window] (accessed 28 May 2010).


APA 2009 "Le parlement burundais approuve les membres de la Commission électorale nationale indépendante", 14 February, [www] http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/DEPAPA88841/parlement-burundi-electionle-parlement-burundais-approuve-les-membres-de-la-commission-electorale-nationale-independante.html [opens new window] (accessed 28 Apr 2010).


CENI 2013 "Invitation to the EISA 7th Annual Symposium 13-14 March 2013", e-mail from Chairperson Ndayicariye, 30 January.

CONSTITUTION POST-TRANSITION DE LA REPUBLIQUE DU BURUNDI 2005 [www] http://www.chanrobles.com/burundi1.html [opens new window] (accessed 25 May 2010).

LOI No 1/22 DU 18 SEPTEMBRE 2009 PORTANT REVISION DE LA LOI N1/015 DU 20 AVRIL 2005 PORTANT CODE ELECTORAL, [www] http://www.arib.info/Parlement_Code_electoral_sept2009.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 25 May 2010).