NEC submits proposal to synchronize presidential with parliamentary elections

On 15 February 2023 at 11:58

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has submitted a proposal to synchronize presidential elections with parliamentary elections. If approved, the move would see next year’s presidential elections held at the same time with parliamentary ones.

The disclosure was made on Wednesday 15th February 2023 by the new NEC Chairperson, Oda Gasinzigwa after swearing-in before the President of Supreme Court, Faustin Ntezilyayo.

Gasinzigwa told the media that NEC has been undergoing process to overhaul elections’ preparations in consideration of other countries best practices.

Normally, presidential and parliamentary elections in Rwanda are held in different years given that the duration of their terms were not equal. The President would run office for seven years while parliamentarians had to stay in office for the duration of five years.

However, the presidential term will be reduced from seven to five years effective next year as per revised Constitution in 2015.

“Synchronizing the elections is important […] Following senate’s approval, I took time, approached the National Electoral Commission and other partners for discussions on synchronization of those events,” said Gasinzigwa.

One of pointed out reasons for the proposal is related to financial constraints as elections require huge budget.

“It would be a good move. There have been consultations on the possible synchronization of presidential with parliamentary elections. It will be very helpful because the budget for elections is not only a serious challenge to all countries but also to political parties,” noted Gasinzigwa.

“You know that political parties spend a lot of money during elections’ preparations […] the synchronization would help us a great deal in terms of saving time and the budget ,” she added.

Gasinzigwa appealed on concerned institutions to discuss the proposal and expressed optimism that it will be endorsed.

If the proposed changes go into force, the term for parliamentarians will be extended by one year to end in 2024.

The synchronization of presidential and parliamentary elections is common among Commonwealth countries.

NEC Executive Secretary, Charles Munyaneza has told journalists that spending much on elections would be addressed once the proposal is welcomed.

He explained that both elections can take up to Rwf14 billion when they are organized separately yet the cost can be reduced to Rwf8 billion when synchronized.

During the ceremony, Carine Umwari was also sworn-in as commissioner in NEC.

Rwandans queuing at a polling station during presidential elections in 2017.
NEC Chairperson Gasinzigwa has disclosed that she submitted a proposal to synchronize presidential elections with parliamentary ones.
Carine Umwari was also sworn-in as commissioner in NEC.
The President of Supreme Court, Dr. Faustin Ntezilyayo officiated the swearing-in of Odda Gasinzigwa.
Commissioner Umwari and NEC Chairperson Odda Gasinzigwa after taking oaths.
Participants of the ceremony is a group photo with Supreme Court President.