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What to expect in the parliament and presidential elections combination journey

In February, the head of the National Electoral Commission, Odda Gasinzigwa, mentioned the wish of combining the parliament elections that were expected this year with the presidential elections that are expected in 2024 to the press.

The National Electoral Commission(NEC) concern comes as an effort to reduce the costs: one election costs up to 7 billion Rwandan francs, in that case, two elections are expected to cost about 14 billion Rwandan francs in two consecutive years.

“Holding elections in two consecutive years tightens the National Budget besides being energy consuming”, Dr. Frank Habineza told the press.

He further added that his support for the decision of combining elections has nothing to do with his position in parliament but ‘a good idea is always a good idea’.

“Sometimes people ask us to take debts to go to the elections, if you’re to take a debt, do it all at once instead of taking it twice”.

Senator Evode Uwizeyimana who was part of the group of people who helped to revise the constitution in 2015, said that combining these elections, apart from saving money that would be used for elections twice in the near future, includes the efficient use of people’s time.

While the next term of the president and that of the parliamentarians is five years, the elections would be held in consecutive years.

He said, “As can be seen, it will require the Constitution to be revised and revised because the mandate of deputies is a mandate determined by the Constitution, so of course there is no other possible way to hold these elections without revising the Constitution, especially the one Article 76 deals with the term of office of the members of parliament.

The Deputy Speaker of the Government, Alain Mukurarinda, said that this is a good idea, and that if the constitution is changed it would not be surprising.

“The constitution to be changed does not require a referendum, it requires that whoever has the authority, can request for it actively and the government has the right to make the request”.

It is a process that they decide through a certain ministry, it reaches the Cabinet meeting and is approved then the request is submitted to the Assembly, which will consider it.”

Those who have the authority to initiate the revision of the Constitution are the President of the Republic through the Council of Ministers, and the Parliament.

Senator Uwizeyimana said that in Article 79 of the Constitution, it is said that if the MPs miss 30 days but less than 60 days for their mandate to end, the President of the Republic dissolves the MPs for election reasons.

“If we look at the seventh as usual, President Kagame should finally dissolve the head of the parliamentarians so that they can go to the elections for the next term.”

Deputy Frank Habineza also said that it would be good for the President of the Republic to be the one to start this trip.

On the other hand, he says that it should not be necessary for anything to happen, which would require the revision of the constitution, so that it should at least last 100 years.

However, since it is a small change that only affects the time of the elections, they think it is a good idea

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