Rwanda goes to polls today to elect parliamentarians

Bernard Makuza, Speaker of Rwanda Senate

Bernard Makuza, Speaker of Rwanda Senate

Eighty parliamentary candidates will be hoping to make it into the legislature out of a total of 521 across five political parties when Rwandans go to the polls today to elect their lawmakers for the next five years.


Out of the number, 24 women, two youth and one person with disability will be elected by a special electoral college to occupy special seats in the law making House leaving 53 to be elected by the 7,172,612 registered voters.


Of the 27 special seats, 179 women are vying for the 24 seats, 26 youth are eying two slots meant for them and one of ten disabled persons is hoping to make it into the legislature.


The votes will take place across 2,471 polling centres in the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western provinces of the country.


The political parties involved in the contest include the governing Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the Green Party (GP) the Liberal Party (LP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP).  Two independent candidates are also in the race.


The Rwandan Diaspora community, meanwhile, undertook the voting exercise yesterday in countries where the country has diplomatic missions and where peace and tranquility is the order of the day.


The elections will be the fourth since the country overcame a bloody genocide which claimed 800,000 lives in 100 days in the year 1994.


The Executive Secretary of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) of Rwanda, Charles Munyaneza, briefing a team of African journalists observing the final lap of preparations ahead of the polls here in Kigali on Thursday assured that his outfit was ready to oversee a peaceful, credible and transparent parliamentary elections.


“As far as we are concerned as an Electoral Commission, we are ready to have smooth, credible and peaceful elections”, he declared.


The Commission oversaw the Presidential election in August last year which saw President Paul Kagame securing a third term in office with a landslide victory of 98.63 per cent of valid votes cast.


Explaining the rationale behind reserving seats for women, the youth and the disabled, Mr. Munyaneza said this would ensure that all sects of the Rwandan society were well represented in Parliament.


“We are assured of representation in Parliament of different categories of Rwandans.

That is why our electoral system is proportional and not the-winner-takes-all system.



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