President Paul Kagame has assented to the amended law governing elections in the country – despite opposition from small parties in Parliament.
The ‘Organic Law governing elections N° 001/2019.OL of 29/07/2019‘ has been published in the national gazette of July 29.
There are several new changes that the law brings as we reported in the story “Parliament Endorses Tough New “Obligations” For Election Observers”.
The law sets age requirements for Rwandans to vie for different positions of power.
To qualify to be on the list of candidates for the 80-member Chamber of Deputies, you have to be 21 years or older. It’s 40 years for those intending to vie for Senatorial seats.
However, there is no age requirement for presidential aspirants in the new electoral law. It is unclear if the omission was done deliberately, or was forgotten.
However, there is a constitutional requirement of 35 years for individuals interested in vying for the position of president as stipulated in the 2003 Constitution as amended in 2015. This is reflected in its Article 99, Section 6.
The other significant change in the electoral law is that the electoral commission cannot put your name on the ballot for Mayor of Kigali if you are under 35 years.
Parliament has already endorsed a law reforming Kigali City administration and the law replaces elected district mayors with “administrators” appointed by the Prime Minister.
This means that Kigali City’s three districts of Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Kicukiro will have appointed administrators soon instead of mayors.
The Mayor of Kigali will be elected from a complicated system emanating from the village level, should the President sign the draft law.
The capital city currently has no mayor as its former immediate leader Marie Chantal Rwakazina was appointed the country’s envoy to Switzerland two weeks ago.
In the new electoral law, District or Kigali Councilors will have to be over 25 years while Sector and Cell Councilors will have to be 21 years or above.
According to information from Mr. Charles Munyaneza, the Executive Secretary of the electoral commission, the senatorial elections scheduled on September 16-18 will be held under the old electoral law.
You can access the new election law HERE