Rwanda’s main opposition party wins MP seats for the first time

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Rwanda’s main opposition will now have parliamentary seats for the first time. The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda was  the only registered opposition party which won two MP seats after garnering five per cent of the votes cast in the just concluded parliamentary elections.

According to the Green Party leader Mr. Frank Habineza, this is a milestone and sign of opening up the country’s political space.

“It is the first time we are having opposition MPs in Parliament in 24 years. It is a major milestone which signals opening up of political space in Rwanda,” Mr Habineza told The EastAfrican.

Welcoming this move, Habineza revealed that he will consider running for the Speakers seat revealing that his party will provide the necessary checks and balances in Parliament which is still largely dominated by the ruling party and other affiliate parties.

Habineza further revealed that he will now consider running for the Speakers seat as well as provide the necessary checks and balances in Parliament which is still largely dominated by the ruling party and other affiliate parties.

“We are not going to be confrontational or engage in running battles but we want to introduce a culture of discussions and debate of the different ideas on the table,” Mr Habineza said

Both Mr Habineza and Ms. Mukabunani say they will push through reforms in laws especially education and agriculture.

“One of our key promises is to reform land laws to ensure that Rwandans fully own their land rather than renting it from government. We will also ensure that some of the land and property taxes that burden the ordinary citizens are scrapped,” said Mr Habineza.

The ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) parties were leading in the race with 74 per cent of the vote and got 40 seats of the available 53 MP slots for election.

RPF allied parties’ also secured seats in the lower chamber of Parliament. Social Democratic Party (PSD) got nine per cent, giving them five seats, and Liberal Party (PL) had seven per cent, equivalent to 4 seats.

The Social Party Imberakuri (PS Imberakuri) garnered 5 per cent, which represents two seats.

In Rwanda parliamentary elections, votes are cast for a party, instead of individual MPs. The party, depending on the percentage vote it receives, with five per cent being the minimum allowed for representation, then picks candidates who become MPs.

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