Burundians are voting in a constitutional referendum that if passed could see President Pierre Nkurunziza’s stay in power extended until 2034.
If Thursday’s referendum vote is passed, the constitution will be amended to extend the president’s term from five to seven years. The changes will also allow President Nkurunziza to stand for two more terms after his current one comes to an end in 2020.
The referendum needs to be approved by more than 50 percent of the voters for the proposed changes to be made.
Some 4.8 million people, a little under half the population, have signed up to vote, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), which is running the referendum.
“I cast my vote today so that we can get the leaders we deserve. This referendum gives me the choice to choose leaders that can change my life,” Citegetse Janvier, a businessman, told Al Jazeera shortly after casting his ballot.
“I’m very happy I came out to vote. I cast my vote because I want peace to return to our country,” Hatungimana Modeste, a farmer, told Al Jazeera.