President appoints new deputy

Burundian President Domitien Ndayizeye appointed Frederic Ngenzebuhoro, 52, on Thursday as his a new vice-president to replace the dismissed Alphonse Marie Kadege.

Ndayizeye made the appointment following a session of the Senate and the National Assembly, during which, 196 Members of Parliament endorsed the choice of Ngenzebuhoro, with three opposing. All 41 senators in attendance favoured Ngenzebuhoro's appointment.

Ngenzebuhoro, who has been deputy president of the National Assembly since 1998, held several ministerial positions during the presidency of Pierre Buyoya, from whom Ndayizeye took office in 2002.

From 1987 to 1993, Ngenzebuhoro successively held the posts of minister of information, communication, sports and culture, and transport. He is a Tutsi from the UPRONA political party and, like Kadege, had opposed the adoption of the draft post-transition constitution.

Ndayizeye dismissed Kadege on Wednesday for his opposition to the constitution. In a news conference on Monday, Kadege had declared that the referendum could not be held as expected on 26 November.

Two names were proposed for nomination during Thursday's parliamentary session. The National Assembly vote was delayed following a misunderstanding over Article 128 of the interim constitution. MPs from the Conseil national de la defense de la democratie–Forces de defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD) requested time to consult before voting.

However, National Assembly Speaker Jean Minani said Article 128 stipulated that in case of death, resignation or inability of the vice-president to carry out his duties, "another vice-president from the same political party and ethnic group" would replace him.

Seven Tutsi-dominated parties had previously written to Ndayizeye requesting his consideration of other candidates from the G-10, the group of 10 Tutsi-dominated parties. They said UPRONA had been unable to implement the Peace and Reconciliation Accord signed in August 2000 in Arusha, Tanzania, under which the transitional government of Burundi was installed.

Following his appointment, Ngenzebuhoro told the MPs he would "do everything possible to put the national interests above anything else".

He said, "I have met the president and I promised to collaborate with him to get the country out of the crisis."