Rwanda plans constitutional change to hold presidential and parliamentary polls together

KIGALI (Reuters) – Rwanda plans to amend its constitution to allow for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held at the same time, according to a statement outlining cabinet resolutions, seen by Reuters on Saturday.

The statement said that the cabinet on Friday approved a proposal by President Paul Kagame to amend the country’s constitution to allow “harmonisation of parliamentary and presidential elections calendars”.

It did not say when the amendment would become effective.

Parliamentary elections are currently scheduled to take place in August this year, but if the constitutional change is implemented, they may be pushed back to next year to be held simultaneously with presidential polls.

The east African country last amended its constitution in 2015, to allow Kagame to extend his rule by a seven-year term commencing in 2017, followed by two further five-year terms. The lawmakers’ term is five years.

Kagame has been Rwanda’s president since 2000.

Officials have in the past said there was a need to hold both elections at the same time to reduce the cost of running them.

(Reporting by Philbert Girinema; editing by Elias Biryabarema and Clelia Oziel)