Two political parties will for the first time front candidates in the forthcoming September Parliamentary elections, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced yesterday.
At a media briefing held at their offices, the Chairperson of NEC, Kalisa Mbanda, said that the council approved 521 nominations out of the 539 applications that it received.
The Lower Chamber of parliament is made up of 80 members, 53 of whom are drawn from political parties or independents, 24 representing women (elected through the National Women Council structures), two youth representatives, and one representative of people living with disabilities.
While it was announced that all nominees from PL, PSD and RPF had been approved, the Democratic Green Party (DGP) and PS Imberakuri, who are both newcomers to parliamentary elections had something to celebrate.
32 of the 34 nominees fronted by the DGP were approved to contest in next month’s elections while 36 out of 45 fronted by PS-Imberakuri were given the green light to contest.
Women score highly
Mbanda said that the highlight of the nomination selection process was finding out that more and more women are getting interested in joining politics. This year, 179 women who handed in their nomination papers were all approved to compete to fill 24 exclusive women seats (30 per cent of the parliament).
Out of the 179 female candidates, 33 are from Northern Province, 62 from Southern Province, 39 from Eastern Province and 39 from Western Province, and 16 from Kigali City, NEC said.
Women make up about 61 per cent of the entire group of nominees.
There is a significant increase as compared to the 2013 parliamentary elections when only 221 women ran compared to 326 this year.
Mbanda told the media that four of the five independent candidates who handed in their nomination papers had been approved. Among those approved is Philippe Mpayimana, who contested in last year’s Presidential elections.
Under the special category, 26 will run on the youth ticket while 10 nominees will run to represent the people with disabilities.
Speaking to The New Times in a telephone interview, the Chairman of the Democratic Green Party (DGP) said that the approval of his party’s nominees was a ‘step in the right direction’.
“That’s obviously good news and it is a step in the right direction. We are happy but we are also aware that there is a lot of hard work ahead since the campaign season is about to begin,” he said.
The election, whose budget will be covered by Government, will cost between Rfw5 billion and Rfw6 billion. About 7.1 million people are expected to participate in the vote. New voters are estimated at 200,000.
According to Article 79 of the constitution, the President is required to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies in a period not more than 30 days and not more than 60 days before the expiry of the term of the sitting parliament.