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Rwanda: Law Passed to Determine New Constituencies for Women Parliamentarians

(Sept. 5, 2008) It was reported in May 2008 that a presidential decree is set to determine new constituencies for women parliamentarians in Rwanda, who are elected by electoral colleges through the National Women's Council. The need to revise the constituencies became inevitable after the 2006 territorial administrative reforms, which saw the number of provinces reduced from 12 to 5, including the elimination of the city of Kigali (the capital of Rwanda) as a province.

During the 2003 general elections, each province had elected two women representatives to occupy the 24 slots set aside for women in the Chamber of Deputies. That arrangement was provided for in the 2003 Constitution. MPs representing women are elected by electoral colleges composed of delegates drawn from women's councils at the cell, district, and provincial levels as well as from among members of district advisory committees.

Apart from the 24 parliamentary seats for women, there are 53 slots to be filled by candidates who represent other political organizations or are independent aspirants. Other special interest groups are the youth (two seats) and the disabled (one seat). Youth representatives are elected through youth structures from the grassroots up to the National Youth Council, while the MP representing the disabled is chosen through the Federation of the Association of the Disabled. (Law Passed to Determine New Constituencies for Women Parliamentarians in Rwanda, THE NEW TIMES (Kigali), May 28, 2008 (on file with author); NEC to Draw Up New Women Constituencies, Rwanda Development Gateway website, May 28, 2008, available at http://www.rwandagateway.org/article.php3?id_article=9332.)