Rwanda | Parliament Votes in Favor of Third Term for Kagame
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Parliament Votes in Favor of Third Term for Kagame
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, 2012
Source: AP Photo/Carl Court, File, Pool
In Sept. 2015, a seven-member constitution commission was appointed to review possible changes that would allow Paul Kagame a third term as president. The move followed a vote by both houses of parliament that supported a constitutional change and a petition signed by 3.7 million, 60% of voters, in favor of it. However, some reports alleged that officials forced voters to sign the petition.
Meanwhile, also in Sept., the Supreme Court heard a challenge opposing changes to the constitution by the Democratic Green Party, the country's main opposition party. The United States has repeatedly stated its opposition to a third term for Kagame. On Sept. 4, the U.S. Department of State released a statement expressing "concern" over the possibility of Rwanda changing the constitution to allow Kagame to remain in power. The statement said, "We continue to firmly support the principle of democratic transition of power in all countries through free, fair, and credible elections, held in accordance with constitutions, including provisions regarding term limits. We do not support those in positions of power changing constitutions solely for their political self-interest."
Kagame was elected in 2003 and 2010. He has not stated directly whether he would seek a third term. However, he has said that any decision on a third term would be for the "Rwandan people."