Senatorial elections: Submission of candidatures starts tomorrow

The National Electoral Commission chairperson Prof. Kalisa Mbanda addresses media during a press conference on July 18. / Sam Ngendahimana

It is expected to be a busy day tomorrow for staff at the National Electoral Commission (NEC) as applications for contestants in the September senatorial elections submit their paper work.

NEC officials have announced that the senatorial election season will kick off tomorrow with prospective candidates submitting their bids to the commission between July 22 and August 9, while campaigns will run from August 27 through September 15.

NEC president, Kalisa Mbanda, said at a news conference in Kigali on July 18 that Rwf200million will be used in the elections, which is half of what was used in 2011.

The Senate is made up of 26 members – including 12 members who represent the country’s four provinces and the City of Kigali and are picked through electoral colleges – and eight senators appointed by the President of the Republic.

Four senators are designated by the Consultative Forum of Political Organisations, one senator represents public universities and higher learning institutions, while another one is picked from private universities and institutions of higher learning.

Of the 12 elected senators who represent the country’s four provinces and the City of Kigali, one senator is elected from the City of Kigali, two senators come from the Northern Province, while the rest of the three provinces elect three senators each.

September 16 will be the polling day for election of the 12 senators representing the four provinces and the City of Kigali, September 17 is polling day for picking one senator from lecturers and researchers of public universities and higher learning institutions, while September 18 is election of one senator from lecturers and researchers of private universities and higher learning institutions.

The deadline to announce elected senators is on 30 September 2019.

In legislative matters in the parliament, the Senate is mandated to vote on a limited number of laws that include those concerning the revision or amendment of the Constitution, organic laws, laws approving international treaties and agreements on armistice, peace, accession to international organisations, modification of national laws, or those approving international treaties and agreements relating to the status of persons.

Laws on defence and national security also require the approval of the Senate. The rest of laws are passed by the Chamber of Deputies without having to be cross-checked by senators.

Rwanda’s Parliament is bicameral, which means that it has two chambers; the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

While members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected to a five-year term and may be re-elected to additional terms, senators are elected or appointed for a five-year mandate that is renewable once but senators who are former Heads of the State are not subject to term limits.

Although NEC will receive all applications for contestants in the September senatorial elections, final candidates for the polls will be approved by the Supreme Court (SC).

Requirements to contest for the elective senatorial seats include being a Rwandan of at least 40 years of age and being widely accepted in society as a wise and upright person.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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