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Burundi considers new constitution in first vote in 12 years

[JURIST] Citizens in Burundi [BBC profile] voted Monday for the first time in 12 years on a constitutional referendum. The proposed constitution is designed to create an ethnically balanced government for the nation that has been suffering from an intense civil war ever since President Melchior Ndaday, Burundi's first democratically elected president, was assassinated by Tutsi rebels following his election in 1993; it was the last time Burundians were able to vote. The African nation borders Rwanda, and shares many of its difficulties in trying to balance a large Hutu population with a powerful Tutsi minority. Results are not expected until late Tuesday or possibly early Wednesday, as large voter turnout and lack of voting cards are expected to keep the polling places open well past their intended closing times. President Domitien Ndayizeye [BBC profile], head of the transitional government, has called on all sides to preserve the peace during the referendum. Reuters has more.

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