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Burundi has blocked social media platforms as voters choose a leader to replace long-serving president Pierre Nkurunziza.

BBC reports that Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are not accessible. The only people who can access the social media sites are those using Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

Polling stations were opened early on Wednesday morning.

The body in charge of elections in Burundi approved representatives from 53 foreign embassies including some from the African Union, as poll observers.

President Nkurunziza will be stepping down after 15 years but he will transition to a newly created position, ‘’supreme guide to patriotism’’.

7 candidates are contesting the presidency and Evariste Ndayishimiye of CNDD-FDD party and Agathon Rwasa of CNL party are seen as the favorites.

Whoever wins will be required to consult Mr Nkurunziza on matters of national security and national unity.

The election has however faced criticism for taking place during the global coronavirus pandemic.

40 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Burundi with one death connected with the virus.

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