2015 Rwandan constitutional referendum

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A constitutional referendum was held in Rwanda on 18 December 2015. Rwandans living abroad voted on 17 December.[1] The amendments to the constitution would allow President Paul Kagame to run for a third term in office in 2017, as well as shortening presidential terms from seven to five years, although the latter change would not come into effect until 2024.[1] They were approved by around 98% of voters.[2]

Background[edit]

A petition calling for Article 101 of the constitution (which imposes presidential term limits) to be amended gained over 3.7 million signatures, equivalent to over 60% of registered voters in Rwanda.[3] The constitutional amendments were approved by the Senate in November 2015.[1] If passed, they would allow Kagame to stand for a further two terms in office after 2024,[1] potentially allowing him to remain in power until 2034.[4] The opposition Democratic Green Party attempted to block the changes, but saw their bid to do so rejected in court.[5] The European Union and United States criticised the proposals, saying that it "undermines democratic principles". In response, Kagame criticised other countries for interfering in domestic affairs.[4]

Results[edit]

Choice Votes %
For 6,157,922 98.3
Against 105,260 1.7
Invalid/blank votes 22,171
Total 6,285,353 100
Registered voters/turnout 6,392,867 98.3
Source: NEC

References[edit]