Political Structure

Structure of Government

Burundi’s political system is a presidential representative democratic republic based on a multi–party state. There are currently 21 registered parties in Burundi. The President of Burundi is the head of state and head of government. The Burundi government is divided into three branches including the executive, legislative and judicial branch. The executive division comprises of the president and the council of ministers, the legislative branch comprises of a national assembly and a senate while the judicial section consists of the Supreme Court and the other constitutional courts.

The president holds the most important position in the government of Burundi and is also responsible for electing council ministers during election. The President serves the country for five year terms after which elections are held.

The Burundi political parties play a key role in governing the country. Burundi Democratic Front (FRODEBU), National Council for the Defense of Democracy and the Unity for National Progress (UPRONA) are the major political parties of Burundi. A multi–party system came into the Burundi government after 1998.


Legislative Branch

Burundi’s legislative branch is a bicameral assembly, which comprises the National Assembly and the Senate. The National Assembly includes 100 directly elected members plus additional deputies appointed as necessary to ensure an ethnic and gender composition as mandated by the constitution of Burundi (60% Hutu, 40% Tutsi, 30% female, and 3 Batwa members). Members of the National Assembly are elected by popular vote and serve for five year terms.

The Senate has fifty–one members, and three seats are reserved for former presidents. Due to stipulations in Burundi’s constitution, 30% of Senate members must be female. Members of the Senate are elected by electoral colleges, which consist of members from each of Burundi’s provinces and communes. For each of Burundi’s seventeen provinces, one Hutu and one Tutsi senator are chosen. One term for the Transitional Senate is five years.
Burundi’s legislative branch elects the President for a five–year term. Burundi’s president appoints officials to his Council of Ministers, which is also part of the executive branch. The president can also pick fourteen members of the Transitional Senate to serve on the Council of Ministers. Members of the Council of Ministers must be approved by two–thirds of Burundi’s legislature.

The president also chooses two vice–presidents. As of 2010, the President of Burundi is Pierre Nkurunziza. The First Vice President is Therence Sinunguruza, and the Second Vice President is Gervais Rufyikiri.
The Burundi multi–party system consists of 44 registered political parties, of which CNDD– FDD (the National Council for the Defense of Democracy), FNL (the National Forces for Liberation), FRODEBU (the Front for Democracy in Burundi), and UPRONA (the National Unity and Progress Party) are national, mainstream parties. Other opposition parties include MSD (Movement for Solidarity and Democracy), CNDD (Council for the Defense of Democracy), PARENA (the Party for National Redress), and FRODEBU Nyakuri (part of the mainstream FRODEBU that won important swing votes in the National Assembly in the 2010 elections).


Judicial Branch

The judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court and the other constitutional courts. The Supreme Court is Burundi’s highest court, below which there are three Courts of Appeals. Tribunals of First Instance are used as judicial courts in each of Burundi’s provinces as well as 123 local tribunals.

Executive Branch

The executive power lies with the President, the First Vice President in charge of political and administrative affairs and the Second Vice President in charge of social and economic affairs and the 21–member Council of Ministers.

The president holds the most important position in the government of Burundi and is also responsible for electing council ministers during election. The President is supposed to serve the country for a term of five years.

Membership to International Organizations
Burundi is a member of many international organisations and has preferential access to many international markets. Below is a list of the main organisations of which Burundi is a member :

East African Community
Burundi is one of the 5 Member States of the East African Community (EAC), one of the most integrated regional economic communities in Africa with a population of 133.5 million people, a combined GDP of 74.5 billion USD and a land area of 1.82 million sq. km. Burundi joined the EAC in 2007 along with Rwanda bringing up to five the number of EAC member countries.


The regional economic bloc encompasses Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda and its realization bears great strategic and geopolitical significance and prospects of a renewed and reinvigorated East African Community.

The EAC aims at widening and deepening co–operation among the member countries in, among others, political, economic and social fields for their mutual benefit. To this extent the EAC countries established a Customs Union in 2005 and launched a Common Market in 2010, and are working towards the establishment of a Monetary Union by 2012 and ultimately a Political Federation of the East African States.

The regional integration process is at a high pitch at the moment as reflected by the encouraging progress of the East African Customs Union, the signing in November 2009 and ratification in 2010 of the Common Market Protocol by all the Partner States.

The negotiations for the East African Monetary Union, which commenced in 2011, and fast tracking the process towards East African Federation all underscore the serious determination of the East African leadership and citizens to construct a powerful and sustainable East African economic and political bloc.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
Burundi is one of the 19 Member States forming the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the largest Regional Economic Community (REC) in Africa, with a population of over 430 million, and a combined GDP of over USD 447 billion. Burundi is one of the 14 COMESA Member States currently taking part in the COMESA Free Trade Area which grants it tariff–free and quota–free access to 13 other major markets in the COMESA region.


Having successfully launched its Customs Union in 2009, COMESA is continuing on the road of regional integration by supporting the continual creation of better investment conditions, making it an increasingly internationally competitive economic community.

The importance of Burundi’s membership of COMESA and its FTA lies in COMESA’s higher FDI growth rate (an increase14.6% in 2010 compared to a decrease of 9% in Africa for the same period) as well as its high average GDP growth rate (5.7% in 2009).

COMESA Member States include: Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe.

Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)
Burundi is one of the 11 Member States forming the Economic Community of Central and Eastern Africa States (ECCAS), the Regional Economic Community (REC) in Africa encompassing most central African countries. A part from Burundi other ECCAS Member States include Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome et Principe.

Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC)

Burundi is one of the 3 members of the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC). ECGLC membership includes Burundi, DRC and Rwanda. ECGLC is a sub–regional organization with multiple vocation created by the signing of the Agreement of Gisenyi in Rwanda on September 20, 1976, aiming at insuring the safety of member states, at favoring the creation and the development of activities of public interest, at promoting the trades and the traffic of the persons and the possessions, at establishing the cooperation in a narrow way in all the domains of the political, economic and social life.

Vision Burundi 2025

Vision Burundi 2025 is a long–term plan devised by the Government of Burundi to constantly improve living conditions in the country and make Burundi a safe, clean and healthy place to live and work in. Burundi 2025 is a tool for long–term development planning, which will guide policies and strategies for sustainable development, in order to meet the needs of the present without hampering or compromising the chances of future generations.

It is also an expression of determination to build a new, democratic, reconciled, unified Burundi, a land of opportunities for all. In order to achieve this, the Vision Burundi 2025 identifies eight interrelated pillars :

  • Good Governance and Capacity Building of the State
  • Human capital
  • Economic growth and the fight against poverty
  • Regional integration
  • Demographics
  • Social cohesion
  • Land use and urbanization
  • Partnership

The development of the Vision “Burundi 2025” takes place in a context of important political change marked by the restoration of peace and security and a favourable economic outlook. Vision “Burundi 2025” aims to provide Burundi with an efficient instrument of development policies planning with a view to develop policies and strategies for sustainable development which will bring forward changes within one generation. This vision was developed based on a participatory approach and reflected a national consensus.