|Ndadaye went ahead with the formation of a mixed-ethnicity government and appointed a Tutsi Prime Minister. For the first time, many Barundi could dream of an end to the ethnic strife.
||Towards Democracy and Reconciliation
Pierre Buyoya, who seized power in a bloodless coup in September 1987, started to reverse some of the more objectionable policies of his predecessors. Although the brutal repression of the 1988 rebellion occurred on his watch, Lemarchand believes it
lacked the scale and the scope of the 1972 genocide. Buyoya did not flinch from exercising extreme repression again in 1991, in response to another violent Hutu uprising.
To his credit, Buyoya did initiate reforms intended to lessen ethnic divisions. He appointed a majority of Hutu to the cabinet, including the prime minister and encouraged Hutu enlistment in the army. Buyoya liberalised the media and freed political prisoners. Many Hutu refugees who fled the country following the 1988 massacres, returned by mid 1989. A new constitution was adopted in 1992 that provided for a multi-party political system and led to the country's first free elections.
Buyoya ran in June 1993 and gracefully conceded defeat. Burundi's first democratically elected president, Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu, won. Despite a failed coup attempt by Tutsi officers, Ndadaye went ahead with the formation of a mixed-ethnicity government and appointed a Tutsi Prime Minister. For the first time, many Barundi could hope for peace and reconciliation.
Within five months of winning the election, Ndadaye was dead. On October 21, 1993, in the course of yet another coup attempt by Tutsi officers, he was assassinated. Although the coup attempt failed, his killing immediately sparked a new round of violence that would claim over 200,000 lives in the years to come.