Senators have elected François-Xavier Kalinda as the new senate president replacing Augustin Iyamuremye who resigned recently on grounds of illness. Kalinda was initially appointed a senator by President Paul Kagame on January 6. He took oath of office on Monday in an event presided over by the President. Following his swearing-in, senators held an election to replace Iyamuremye whose seat was officially declared vacant after his resignation. Kalinda, 60, is a former member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) having completed his term at the EAC legislative body late last year. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD). ALSO READ: What next after Senate president Iyamuremye's resignation? Kalinda stood unchallenged after Senator Adrie Umuhire who had been fronted pulled out citing that women already filled two of the three positions in the Chamber's top leadership. Kalinda was subsquently elected unanimously, collecting all 26 votes. He effectively becomes the country's number two in official hierachy after the Head of State. In his acceptance speech, Kalinda said, “I want to thank the President for entrusting me with these new responsibilities of being a senator. I promise I will deliver on the commitments I outlined in taking oath. I will work with all institutions to continue serving Rwandans.” He added that “I thank my fellow Senators for entrusting me to lead them as the senate president, I promise my utmost commitment and cooperation with everyone. I will seek advice and listen to everyone in order to serve Rwandans.” He joined EALA in 2015, replacing Celestin Kabahizi, who had resigned. Kalinda served two terms in the regional Assembly until 2022. A former Dean of the School of Law at the University of Rwanda, Kalinda served as a member of the EALA Commission, the leading committee which manages the affairs of the regional Assembly, organises the business and programme of the House, and nominates members of other committees. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Business Law. He also worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences, where he was member of the academic senate. After graduating from the then National University of Rwanda, in 1996, he pursued a Master of Law in Intellectual Property Rights at the University of Ottawa, in Canada, completing in 1999. In 2010, Kalinda obtained a PhD from the University of Strasbourg in France. Kalinda will be assisted by two vice presidents including Esperance Nyirasafari -- vice president in charge of legislation and government oversight -- and Alivera Mukabaramba -- vice president in charge of economic affairs. Rwanda’s Senate is composed of 26 members who serve for a five-year term, renewable once. These include 12 members who represent the country’s four provinces and capital Kigali, voted through electoral colleges, and eight senators appointed by the president. Four other senators are nominated by the Consultative Forum of Political Organizations -- a forum that brings together 11 political parties in Rwanda -- one senator represents public universities and higher learning institutions, while another one is elected from private university and higher learning institutions. The role of Rwanda’s Upper Chamber of Parliament includes monitoring implementation of the country’s fundamental principles such as fighting genocide ideology, eradication of ethnic divisions and promotion of national unity; equitable sharing of power, and monitoring functioning of political organizations and approval of officials appointed to public institutions. It also has a shared responsibility with the Lower Chamber of Deputies in matters of legislation and oversight.