Rwanda: Over 200 Get NEC Green Light to Contest for Special Seats in Parliament

A month before the July parliamentary polls, 211 candidates - out of 247 aspirants who earlier submitted their candidatures - have met the legal requirements to contest for representing special interest groups, according to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

Last week, NEC provisionally cleared 459 candidates who will contest for parliamentary seats during the general elections slated for next month. This represents close to 70 per cent of 666 candidates who submitted candidatures to the electoral body - including aspirants from political organisations, independent ones, and those representing special interest groups; women, youth, and people with disabilities.

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Six presidential hopefuls; Herman Manirareba, Innocent Hakizimana, Fred Sekikubo Barafinda, Thomas Habimana, Diane Rwigara and Jean Mbanda, did not meet the requirements, and had at least five working days to fulfill the requirements on which they fell short before the final list of candidates is announced.

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On July 16, 24 female lawmakers will be elected by specific electoral colleges based on national administrative entities. Two lawmakers will be elected by the National Youth Council and one will be elected by the National Council of Persons with Disabilities.

According to a provisional list of presidential and parliamentary candidates issued by NEC on June 6, for youth representation in parliament's lower chamber, 34 aspirants filed their candidatures and 23 fulfilled the requirements.

This marks a slight decrease compared to the last parliamentary elections in 2018, where 27 aspirants made it to the provisional list out of 32 who had submitted candidatures to NEC.

Regarding candidates for representing people with disabilities in parliament, NEC received the candidatures of 13 aspirants, and seven met the requirements. Here, the number of qualified candidatures is the same as that of 2018 where seven candidates made it to the provisional list among the 10 that had filed candidatures.

For the 200 aspirants who filed candidatures with NEC under the women special interest group, 181 qualified, marking a slight increase compared to 2018 when out of 179 aspirants, 177 appeared on the provisional list.

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The polling date for the President and 53 lawmakers elected from candidates proposed by political organisations or independent candidates is July 15.

Rwandans voting from abroad will cast their votes on July 14.

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