Polls close in Burundi's controversial presidential election which is marred by violence and dismissed by the U.S. Nathan Frandino reports.
Vote counting has begun in Burundi where incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza is seeking a third term in office. The election comes amid a boycott by the opposition which says his run violates the constitution. Electoral commission head Pierre Claver Ndayicariye says provisional results are expected within two days. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PIERRE CLAVER NDAYICARIYE, ELECTORAL COMMISSION HEAD, SAYING: "We'll deploy a team of staff which will collect the envelopes in which we'll have the minutes of the results for each polling station." Nkurunziza's controversial decision to run came with often violent protests in the capital Bujumbura. Blasts and gunfire echoed around the city early Tuesday. The violence left a police officer and an opposition official killed. Protesters blamed the government for the opposition member's death. U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby dismissed the election. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHN KIRBY, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN, SAYING: "There's no international observers. There's routine intimidation of voters. There's been a sustained effort to silence freedom of speech by media and by opposition members, so in no way, shape, or form can this be considered a free, fair or credible election." As the counting gets underway, many fear the violence is likely to continue in the country's worst crisis since civil war ended in 2005.