Evariste Ndayishimiye has been was sworn in as the new president of Burundi after the sudden death of his predecessor, Pierre Nkurunziza.
Ndayishimiye, who won the May 20 elections was originally supposed to take over in August but the Constitutional Court ruled that the investiture be brought forward following the death of the outgoing president.
The 52-year-old was sworn in on Thursday at the Ingoma stadium in the capital city, Gitegay.
Before taking the oath, Ndayishimiye knelt surrounded by the leaders of the Catholic, Anglican, evangelical and Muslim faiths, who prayed for him.
“Understand that you are a son of God and as such must bring peace among Burundians, you know how much we need it,” said the Catholic archbishop of Gitega, Simon Ntamwana.
“Bring back to our country the refugees in the camps, bring back the intellectuals in exile so that they can take part in the development of our country, renew ties with the international community so they can help us develop,” he said.
Mr. Ndayishimiye, a father of six and a practicing catholic, pledged to “devote all his force to defending the superior interests of the nation and ensure the national unity and cohesion of the Burundian people, peace and social justice.”
Pierre Nkurunziza., who ruled the East African nation for 15 years died at the age of 55 after suffering a heart attack last week.