BUJUMBURA (AFP) — Burundi's constitutional court authorised the sacking of 22 former members of President Pierre Nkurunziza's party whose defection lost him his parliamentary majority, court chief Christine Nzeyimana said Saturday.
They include the former secretary general of the CNDD-FDD party, Hussein Radjabu, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison two months ago for plotting against the state.
Radjabu headed the CNDD-FDD until February 2007, when he was sidelined by the president. He then went into opposition along with a score of loyalists.
The speaker of parliament had asked the constitutional court to rule that an MP who defects from the party for which he was elected loses his right to a seat.
A senior official of the CNDD-FDD said the official substitutes of the sacked MPs would sit in their place and vote with the party.
One of those dismissed, Mathias Basabose, accused the presidential party of "totalitarian" methods to regain a majority which it had lost.
Parliament was stalemated by the split in the CNDD-FDD until a coalition government of the two main opposition parties was formed in November.
Burundi has been ravaged by a civil war that has claimed over 300,000 lives since 1993 and remains chronically paralysed by political crises and ethnic tensions.
But hopes of peace were raised last month when the leader of the last active rebel group, Agathon Rwasa, returned from exile after agreeing a truce with the government.
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