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Breaking: Rwanda Parliament Votes In Support Of Paul Kagame’s Third Term Bid



Rwandan lawmakers voted on Tuesday in support of a constitutional change to allow strongman Paul Kagame a third term in power as president, backing a petition signed by millions of citizens.

“I want to thank all members of parliament for showing support to the people’s wishes,” Speaker of Parliament Donatilla Mukabalisa said, after both the lower and upper houses voted in the first step of the process for constitutional change. Any change must be also passed by a national referendum.

Senior members of Rwanda’s ruling party had before now endorsed a change in constitution so President Paul Kagame can seek a third term in office, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF).

A bid by neighbouring Burundi’s president to be re-elected to a third term next month triggered weeks of violent protests by opponents who said the move violated the constitution. But analysts do not anticipate a similar eruption in Rwanda if Kagame runs again, citing his stronger grip on power.

Rwanda’s constitution limits presidents to two seven-year terms. Kagame, who was re-elected with a landslide in 2010, said in April that the constitution had been drawn up by the people and they would determine any changes to the charter.

Critics accuse Kagame, 57, of trampling on media and political freedoms. But he has also won international praise for the progress made since the 1994 genocide toward transforming Rwanda into a middle-income country by 2020.

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