Rwanda vote grants extra terms for Kagame

Rwanda vote grants extra terms for Kagame
Updated 19 December 2015

Rwanda vote grants extra terms for Kagame

Rwanda vote grants extra terms for Kagame

KIGALI: Rwanda has overwhelmingly voted to change the constitution to allow President Paul Kagame to potentially rule until 2034, election officials said on Saturday citing partial referendum results.
“We have seen the will of the people. It’s clear that what the people want, they can achieve,” said National Electoral Commission chief Kalisa Mbanda, announcing 98.1 percent had voted “yes” with preliminary results in from some 70 percent of the country.
“They called for the change of the constitution and they have made it,” the pro-government New Times newspaper quoted him as saying.
Kagame, 58, could now be in power potentially for another 17 years.
“What is happening is the people’s choice,” he told reporters after casting his vote on Friday.
The amendment allows Kagame to run for a third seven-year term in 2017, at the end of which the new rules take effect and he will be eligible to run for a further two five-year terms. The United States and European Union have denounced the proposed amendments as undermining democracy in the central African country.
On Friday, the EU delegation in Kigali said there had been a lack of “sufficient time and space for debate” on the issue, with the date for the referendum only announced on December 8 and the draft of the changes “only published publically less than one day ahead of the vote.”
“The short time between the announcement and the holding of the referendum left little or no opportunity for all parties to present their arguments,” the EU said.