Rwanda to hold referendum on Dec.18 for Kagame's third-term

Rwanda to hold referendum on December 18 over change to constitution which would allow President Paul Kagame to run for third term as president

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Updated Dec 18, 2015

Rwanda will hold a referendum December 18 on changes to the country's constitution which would allow President Paul Kagame to run for a third term.

In 1994, the year that marked the end of a genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed, Kagame became Rwanda's vice President and later became the country's president since 2000. 

The proposed constitutional change allows Kagame to run for a third seven-year term in elections in 2017, after which he would also able to run for two five-year terms under the new constitution.
Third-term Struggle

At the begining of this year more than 60 percent of Rwandan voters signed a petition demanding changes to the constitution which would allow Kagame to stay in power.
The Supreme Court in Rwanda accepted the parliament’s proposal and decided to allow a referendum on the changes, rejecting an appeal by the main opposition party on October 8 to block any such changes. 

Rwanda's lower house of parliament passed a constitutional amendment in October enabling President Paul Kagame to run for a third consecutive term in 2017 and potentially paving the way for him to remain in power untill 2034

He will be able to rule for another seven-year term after his current term ends in 2017.

Kagame can run for another two terms of five years each, after his seven year term ends, which means he could extend his rule to 2034.

The constitutional changes will be put to a vote in the national referendum on 18 December and the changes are highly expected to be passed.
The European Union expressed concerns last week about the constitutional changes after the US ambassador to the United Nations, Samanta Power, said USA expects Kagame to step down at the end of his term in 2017, as "an example" for the region.

TRTWorld and agencies