Rwandans start voting in Parliamentary elections today
Written by: George Kalisa
Sunday, September 2nd, 2018, 10:06
Rwandans in the diaspora had by 7am local time already joined queues to vote the fourth Parliament in polls that start today and end September4. Campaigns for Parliamentary seats, which were extremely peaceful and calm throughout officially kicked off August13 and ended a day before.
President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame have joined the Rwandan Community in the Chinese capital Beijing in casting votes in ongoing legislative elections.
Today, it is only the Rwandans in diaspora who will vote while Rwandans from within the country will cast their votes on September3, according to the election programme released by the country’s electoral body, NEC.
And, legislators for special interest groups like women, youths and persons living with disabilities will be voted on September4.
Rwanda’s ruling Party, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi and other small political parties in the coalition face in the calm race, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Liberal Party (PL), the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) and PS-Imberakuri.
Participating for the first time, the DGPR is the only opposition political party that stood against the ruling RPF-Inkotanyi in last year’s Presidential polls which President Paul Kagame won with 98.7% of the vote. The other parties including the PSD and PL backed and supported the RPF-Inkotanyi candidate.
Philippe Mpayimana , a Presidential candidate in last year’s pools on an independent ticket is also running in the September Parliamentary polls together with four other newcomers and little unknown in Rwandan politics.
On September2-3, the parties and independent candidates will compete for 53 seats out of 80 in the Lower Chambers shared among them depending on the percentage of the total vote they win. 24 seats are reserved for women, two for the youths and one seat for people living with disabilities.
A political party needs to get a mandatory 5% of the total vote to have one representative in the Parliament.
The President of the GDPR, Dr. Frank Habineza told The Light Magazine today that “Generally speaking this campaign was better than that of last year. Local authorities improved and the media was more professional. We finalized the campaign without having anyone arrested or killed, the Democratic Green Party hails security organs, local leaders for smooth campaigns”
“Our previous demands for electoral reforms remain, we will talk more about that after elections,” added Dr. Habineza.
At least 7.1 million voters are projected to take part in this election up from 5,953,531 in 2013.
The Parliamentary elections’ budget oscillates between Rwf5 and 6 billion to be exclusively provided by government, official sources said.
President Paul Kagame’s ruling party, FPR-Inkotanyi is expected to win the September polls with a huge margin as a sign of voters' appreciation for the socio-economic transformation and stability Rwanda enjoys today.
“The RPF and the allied partied will win with a landslide the Parliamentary election. This is informed on tremendous economic development registered under President Paul Kagame leadership,” said local political analyst Muligande Sengabo Charles,at the University of Nairobi.
Muligande Sengabo Charles
The election is done in a calm and violence free environment with presence of Police on the polling stations.