DGPR Declaration: Electoral Reforms Required for a Sustainable Peaceful Democratic Society in Rwanda
The National Executive Committee of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda held a dialogue meeting on the necessary electoral reforms on 22nd May 2021 and thereafter had a press conference with different media houses in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Democratic Green Party resolved to once again call upon the concerned Rwandan authorities to consider the following electoral reforms before the next elections cycle:
1. The law and other regulations governing Local elections need to be amended and provide for political parties to compete in local elections. The current provisions of standing on individual merit has outlived the set purposes as those elected on individual end up becoming politically sensitive persons in State institutions.
2. There’s also a need to set up clear guidelines for those elected to always put citizens interests first other than those of political organizations they come from. It would also be prudent to build a culture that allows different political parties to be represented in all local administrative entities, starting from Village Councils up to District Councils.
3. The law and other regulations governing Parliamentary elections which were promulgated in 2003 and updated till now, need to be amended to reflect the progress the country has taken 18 years later. The threshold for political parties to enter parliament needs to be reduced from 5% of the national vote to 3%. The same should apply for Independent candidates and be reduced from 5% to 2% of the national Vote. The logic for this is indicated by the number of voters whom have almost doubled in the last 18 years. This change will also allow for proper citizen representation in Parliament.
4. We would also like to call for an increment in the number of directly elected Members of Parliament in the Chamber of Deputies from political organizations and therefore increase the current number from 80 MPs to at least 100 MPs, in consideration with the available national budget. This will allow for more citizen representation and will help in the continued efforts of strengthening democratic governance in the country.
5. The Law and other regulations governing Presidential elections should also be amended to allow the availability of campaign funding in advance for confirmed candidates, other than giving a provision to those who have gained at least 5% of the national vote at the end of elections. This would allow for candidates who have been confirmed by the National Electoral Commission to have a baseline to start with in the fundraising drive.
6. The Campaign period for all elections needs to be revised from the current 21 days to at least 60 days, this will allow for candidates to traverse the whole country in a proper peaceful manner.
7. Representation of all the current registered political parties in the National Electoral Commission structures from Village to National Level, should be made a priority. This will strengthen the electoral system and help in building more trust in the elections.
8. The Media should be allowed to give live updates of what’s been announced by electoral officials at all polling centers, other than waiting to report what has been compiled at the District level. This would promote more transparency and credibility in the electoral system.
Done at Kigali, 23rd May 2021
On behalf of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda
Dr.Frank Habineza [MP]