Electoral law to be amended

By Esther Muhozi
On 3 November 2023 at 01:29

The Rwandan government is planning to amend the electoral law, introducing new measures aimed at improving the efficiency of the electoral process. This move comes in response to the recently revised constitution, which now mandates the simultaneous election of the Head of State and parliamentarians.

The foundation of this proposal received approval on Thursday, November 2, 2023 during the Lower Chamber of Parliament’s General Assembly. Consequently, the proposed changes will undergo a thorough examination by the relevant commission before returning to the General Assembly for voting.

The Minister of Local Government, Jean Claude Musabyimana, emphasized that the primary motive behind revising this law is to align it with the recently updated Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda.

The new election law incorporates provisions that make the electoral procedures more intricate due to the unique occurrence of presidential and deputy elections taking place concurrently for the first time.

Notable alterations include the removal of the provision that previously allowed temporary exclusion from the voter list for individuals exhibiting mental illness.

Additionally, it outlines procedures for segregating and excluding certain ballot boxes when the presidential and parliamentary elections coincide.

While the existing law granted candidates 35 days before the election, the revised law extends this period to 45 days.

Minister Musabyimana justified this extension by stating that the comprehensive evaluation of numerous candidates for both the presidential and parliamentary polls, particularly when these elections coincide, demands more time for a thorough assessment.

In the conventional law, independent candidates running for the position of President of the Republic and Deputies were required to obtain endorsements from 600 individuals at the national level, with a minimum of 12 individuals in each district supporting their candidacy.

To streamline this process, the new bill introduces a provision that entrusts the Electoral Commission with determining the timeframe for securing these endorsements, as the previous law did not specify a set duration for independent candidates to gather signatories.