President Paul Kagame of Rwanda on Thursday started canvassing for votes for the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) candidates as parliamentary elections draw closer.
Rwandans will go to the polls from Sept. 2 to Sept. 4 to elect members of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, for a five-year term, according to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
RPF has 70 nominated candidates and its six coalition parties have 10, according to NEC.
Kagame, who is also the chairman of the RPF, started his campaigns in Muganza sector, Gisagara District of Southern province, where he addressed thousands of RPF supporters.
Addressing ruling party supporters, Kagame, who has president since March 24, 2000, said that RPF has laid the foundation of the Rwanda’s progress and the party still needs time and enough support in the parliament to accomplish what it started.
The RPF manifesto for the 4th parliament highlights job creation, agriculture transformation, private sector development, urban development and enhancing economic development.
According to NEC, the RPF had selected 80 candidates but left 10 places to other political parties including Centrist Democratic Party, Rwanda Socialist Party, Party for Progress and Concord, Democratic Union of the Rwandan People and the Prosperity and Solidarity Party.
The elections of the lower house use one single nationwide constituency, where 53 seats will be directly elected by proportional representation.
The other 27 seats reserved for special interest groups including women, the young and the disabled will be elected indirectly.
According to NEC, the number of parliamentary candidates is 521, including 302 from political parties, four independent candidates, 26 for the youth, 10 for people living with disabilities, and 179 for women slots.
RPF parliamentary candidates are tussling out for the parliamentary seats with candidates from the opposition parties of Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda as well as independent candidates.