Rwandan parliamentary election, 2008

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A parliamentary election was held in Rwanda from 15 September to 18 September 2008. There were 80 seats at stake in the Chamber of Deputies, 53 directly elected and 27 indirectly elected.[1][2] No opposition parties participated in the election.[2] The election produced the world's first national legislative chamber with a female majority in a modern nation (equal male and female has not happened). The previous election had given it 48.75% females.[3] This time, females secured 45 seats, 56.25%, the first time females were not in a minority.[4]

The EU sent an election observation mission,[5][6] as did the Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union, COMESA, and the East African Legislative Assembly.[6] The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR) assembled a coalition which included six smaller parties: the Islamic Democratic Party (PDI), the Christian Democratic Party (PDC), the Party for Progress and Concord (PPC), the Prosperity and Solidarity Party (PSP), the Democratic Union of the Rwandan People (UPDR) and the Rwandese Socialist Party (PSR).[7] Aside from the FPR coalition, only two parties participated in the election: the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party. Since both of those parties supported President Paul Kagame, there was no opposition participation in the election; the opposition parties remained in exile.[2] In addition to the political parties, a single independent candidate stood in the election.[2][6]

Campaigning for the election began on 25 August 2008. The day was marked by a march of about 2,000 FPR supporters through Kigali.[8] The United Democratic Forces opposition coalition, based in Belgium, said that the FPR had total control of the state machinery and electoral process, making the election a mere "smoke screen".[2]

The direct phase of voting for 53 seats occurred on 15 September. Voting was from 6 am to 3 pm. Kagame voted in the Nyarugenge district of Kigali, and he said on this occasion that the people and the parties needed "to work together for national development".[2] Chrysologue Karangwa, the head of the electoral commission, said on 16 September that the FPR won 42 seats, the Social Democratic Party won seven, and the Liberal Party won four.[1]

The indirect phase of voting for 27 seats began on 16 September and ended on 18 September. These seats include 24 for women, while two are reserved for representatives of the youth and one is reserved for a representative of the disabled.[1][2]

The newly elected deputies were sworn in on 6 October, and Rose Mukantabana was elected as President of the Chamber of Deputies, receiving 70 votes and defeating Abbas Mukama. Dennis Polisi was re-elected as First Vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies, and Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo was elected as its Second Vice-President.[9]

e • d Summary of the 15 September – 18 September 2008 Chamber of Deputies of Rwanda election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Coalition Rwandese Patriotic Front (Front patriotique rwandais) 3,655,956 78.76 42
Christian Democratic Party (Parti démocratique chrêtien)
Islamic Democratic Party (Parti démocratique islamique)
Rwandese Socialist Party (Parti socialiste rwandais)
Prosperity and Solidarity Party (Parti de la Solidarité et du Progrès)
Party for Progress and Concord (Parti du Progrès et de la Concorde )
Democratic Union of the Rwandese People (Union démocratique du People rwandais)
Social Democratic Party (Parti social démocrate) 609,327 13.12 7
Liberal Party (Parti libéral) 348,186 7.5 4
Harelimana J.M.V. 27,848 0.6
Women's representatives 24
Youth representatives 2
Disabled representatives 1
Valid votes 4,641,317 98.8
Invalid votes 56,372 1.2
Total (turnout 98.5 %) 4,697,689 100.0 80
Source: CNE

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Kagame's party scoops majority of seats", Sapa-AFP (IOL), September 16, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Rwanda votes in election without opposition", AFP, 15 September 2008.
  3. ^ http://www.eueomrwanda.org/EN/info.html
  4. ^ http://www.unifem.org/news_events/story_detail.php?StoryID=736
  5. ^ "European Union deploys Election Observation Mission to Rwanda", European Union press release, IP/08/1231, 1 August 2008.
  6. ^ a b c "Over 1000 deployed to observe Rwandan parliamentary polls", African Press Agency, 15 September 2008.
  7. ^ "Ruling FPR assembles wide coalition", Angus Reid Global Monitor.
  8. ^ "Rwandan election campaign underway with ruling party march", AFP, 25 August 2008.
  9. ^ Felly Kimenyi, "Parliament Gets Female Speaker", The New Times (allAfrica.com), 7 October 2008.