The New Times (Kigali)

6 June 2013

Rwanda: MPs' Nomination Scheduled for July

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has released the programme for conducting this year's parliamentary elections scheduled for September.

According to the electoral calendar, released yesterday, from July 29 to August 9, the commission will be receiving nomination forms for candidates aspiring for the Lower Chamber of Parliament.

The elections are scheduled to take place from September 16 to September 18.

Preparation for the exercise started in July, last year, and it includes activities to ensure free and fair election.

"From what we have now, we can ascertain that there will be no budgetary issues," said Moses Bukasa, the NEC director of communication.

Running the elections will cost an estimated Rwf5 billion.

The civic education, training of the electoral staff and consultative meetings, allocating polling sites, registration of voters which include online method are some of the activities that have been taking place.

NEC has provided a 12-day period for nomination for the aspiring candidates from July 29 to August 9, another 12 days for campaigns for independent and political party's candidates from August 26 to September 15.

Yardstick for MPs:

Members of Parliament to be voted are in three categories. There are 53 seats that are reserved for members of political parties and the independent candidates.

For the latter, eligibility for one to be nominated as a candidate includes being 21 years of age and above, to have a clean criminal record (especially not to have committed Genocide), and also having 600 signatures of qualified voters.

For these seats, nominated candidates will be voted by adult suffrage by all Rwandans aged 18 years and above, excluding those who were found guilty of committing Genocide. It is scheduled to take place on September 16.

On September 17, there will be election of women representatives. They have 24 seats up for grabs. For these seats, said Bukasa, candidates are elected by Electoral College made up of committees of national women council from cell to national level.

Closing the election on September 18 will be the category of youth representatives with two seats and the disabled people representative with one seat.

The three candidates in this category that makes the total number of the seats to be 80 members of parliament will be voted by the committees of their respective national councils.

NEC will be expected to release provisional results and definitive results on September 25, or at least two days after polls.

Meanwhile, according to Bukasa, online registration for voters is ongoing, with procedures on www.nec.gov.rw.

Voters are allowed liberty to change their polling centres to a place of their convenience regardless of where they registered from.

Timeline

For registration by traditional method, Bukasa said, citizens will be given another chance between July and August.

"The only challenge we are still facing is that people care a lot about presidential elections, but for this they are not active enough," said Bukasa. "We call upon each and every Rwandan citizen not to miss this opportunity to choose people they want to represent them."

This paper recently reported that representatives of all the registered political parties said their parties were doing their best to prepare their respective political manifestos-and were targeting June to complete the messages that the voters will be flooded with during campaigns.

During the September 15, 2008 parliamentary polls, a coalition led by ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi), took the day.

The coalition included Centrist Democratic Party, Parti du Progrès et la Concorde, Union Démocratique du Peuple Rwandais, Parti de la Solidarité et du Progrès, Parti Socialiste Rwandais, and the Ideal Democratic Party.

However, representatives of the six political parties are yet to commit on the possibility of forming coalition with RPF again. They said decisions to rally with the ruling party will be taken later this month during their respective general assemblies.

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