Cabinet allows joint polls, MPs get extra one year on term
Sunday April 09 2023
The Cabinet has approved the merger of the parliamentary election originally scheduled for September this year with presidential ones slated for next year.
The move which now awaits parliamentary approval, gives current Members of Parliament one extra year in office.
The government says the move was motivated by the desire to reduce expenses on preparations for elections. The electoral commission says it will save the taxpayer approximately Rwf7 billion.
According to Oda Gasinzigwa, the new National Electoral Commission (NEC) chairperson harmonising the electoral calendar comes with cost savings.
“The issue of resources, and the budget, are a big challenge to most of our (EAC) partner states, including Rwanda..."
“Stakeholders came to a common understanding, and we think it is high time that we again look into how we can synchronize the dates of the elections for the President and Members of Parliament,” Ms Gasinzigwa recently told the press after swearing in at parliament.
NEC says it plans to deploy technology which will also lower the cost.
In the previous parliamentary elections in 2018, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) gained two seats in Parliament with five percent of the total vote making history as the first independent political party not in coalition with the ruling party - RPF to win seats in parliament.
Five per cent of the vote is the minimum amount required to win a seat in Parliament. More than seven million Rwandans are expected to vote in the forthcoming elections.
There are 80 seats up for grabs in the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of the legislature); as well as the 53 elected by proportional representation; 24 seats are reserved for women and are indirectly elected by local women’s councils and district councils, while two are for youth candidates and one is for a representative of people with disabilities.