Sept. polls: PDI ponders coalition with RPF

The Ideal Democratic Party (PDI) is considering the possibility of rallying with the ruling Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) party in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
PDI chairman Sheikh Musa Fazil Harerimana
PDI chairman Sheikh Musa Fazil Harerimana

The Ideal Democratic Party (PDI) is considering the possibility of rallying with the ruling Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) party in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. 

PDI chairman Sheikh Musa Fazil Harerimana (pictured) said his party is still considering whether or not to go it alone in the September polls and that the final decision would be reached after a party’s meeting scheduled next week.

“We have two options; either contesting by ourselves or rallying with RPF as we have done in previous elections but we are most likely going with the latter,” Sheikh Harerimana, who is also the Minister for Internal Affairs told The New Times in a an interview yesterday.

He explained that his party has a similar manifesto with RPF on rebuilding the country.

“Ideal Democratic Party stands for the country’s  development and appreciates where the country is heading under the leadership of the RPF. This is a position we will never abandon”, he said, adding that uniting with the ruling party makes PDI stronger than if they were to stand alone.

“Coalitions come with a bigger voice and elections demand power; there is nothing wrong with a coalition. Always weaker political parties all over  the world enter into alliances with the  stronger parties to win elections.”  PDI two seats in the Chamber of Deputies  are occupied by MPs Abas Mukama and Fatou Harerimana.

Sheikh Harerimana said talks with RPF are ongoing and that a deal was likely.

On how they will share seats under the coalition, Harerimana said that is between PDI and RPF.

The RPF Secretary General François Ngarambe told this paper that different political parties have already requested to join them and that RPF is in for coalition since political parties bring them more strength.

Another party that has almost made a decision to join forces with the ruling party is the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC).

Speaking to The New Times sister newspaper Izuba Rirashe, on Monday, Emmanuel Gatera, the party’s vice president said they still have an interest to rally with RPF to win seats in Parliament so as to have an opportunity to actively participate in country’s development.

Union Democratic du Peuple Rwandais UDPR, Parti de la Solidarité et du Progrès (PSP) and the Rwandese Labour Party also said they are still weighing the coalition option.

“It’s not for me to decide alone, but are looking into the possibility of campaigning alongside RPF,” Jean Marie Vianney Rucibigango, the chairman of Rwandese Labour Party told The New Times.

Rally with RPF or any other party

Jean Thierry Karemera, the Secretary General of Parti du Progrès et de la Concorde, said their final decision would be announced after their next meeting.

“We shall see if we will rally with RPF, any other political party or if we can opt to contest  alone,” Karemera said, adding that at their previous meeting some party members argued against a coalition.

Three parties, Liberal Party (PL), Socialist Party (PSD) and PS Imberakuli have, meanwhile declared that they will not seek any form of coalition and will contest the September polls on their own.

According to Rwanda’s Constitution, all political parties compete for a total of 53 out of 80 seats in the Chmaber of Deputies, while the remaining members are elected by special colleges that represent women, youth and the disabled for a five year term.

During the September 15, 2008 parliamentary polls, a coalition led by RPF-Inkotanyi, took the day with 42 seats and 79 per cent of votes. Six political parties were in coalition with RPF and they got a number of seats each.

Contesting alone, the Social Democratic Party won seven seats and the Liberal Party four.

For the coming elections, RPF conducted its primaries on July 7 where committees at cell level elected two candidates, a male and female who will compete at district level on Sunday, July 14.

According to the director of communication at the National Electoral Commission, Moses Bukasa 5.9 million voters have already registered, and the commission expects the number to be over 6 million.

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