Parliament passes new constitutional amendments

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Jean Pierre Twagiruwijuru, a resident of Gikomero Sector in Gasabo District, gives his suggestion on the amendment of article 101 amendment during a consultative meeting early this year. (File)

The Lower House of Parliament unanimously voted to reduce presidential term limits from seven to five years renewable once.

The change will be preceded by one transitional presidential term of seven years for which any presidential candidates including President Paul Kagame, should he choose to run, will be eligible.

The transitional provisions, according to the Speaker of parliament, Donatile Mukabalisa, is in response to citizen petitions and the need to sustain achievements registered over the past 21 years.

At least 3,8 million people petitioned the parliament to redesign the constitution to allow President Kagame to stand again in 2017.

In her explanation, the Speaker stated that the transitional period is based on Rwanda’s unique context as the nation strives to achieve sustainable socio-economic transformation.

Mukabalisa added that the constitution was amended bearing in mind a number of issues, including durability, flexibility and how accommodative it can be to other subordinate laws.

While presenting the addendum report on the revised constitution yesterday, the Deputy Speaker, Jeanne D’arc Uwimanimpaye, said a number of other changes were made, ranging from vetting process of the Senate, modalities at which a former President vies for a senatorial position among others.

Should the revised Constitution be endorsed by Senate, it will be subject to a national referendum giving the final decision to the people of Rwanda.

The draft law was tabled almost a month after the constitutional technical committee was sworn-in by the Supreme Court to help redesign the law.

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