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Parliamentary polls: Green Party targets 20% of seats

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) is looking at coming up with a “strong manifesto” before embarking on a vigorous campaign to secure at least 20 per cent of parliamentary seats in the September polls, party officials have said.

The party president, Frank Habineza, who also ran in last year’s presidential elections has exclusively told The New Times that they are ready to submit their list of candidates, adding that they are looking to fielding up to 60 members in the campaign.

“The party has been preparing for these elections since October last year. We started with conducting meetings at the district level and have already elected two candidates, both female and male, from each district,” he said in an interview, adding that the process was concluded in May

Habineza who said that he is also on the list of candidates to run on the Green Party ticket, said that final list of candidates will be approved by the national party congress scheduled on June 23.

“We shall also approve our new manifesto at the congress,” he added.

High hopes

He said the party will ensure that candidates have all that is required by the national electoral law such as presenting a certificate of criminal record, among others, before the congress approves them.

Habineza contested in last year’s presidential elections, during which he polled 0.47 per cent, making him the last among the three candidates who contested.

President Paul Kagame, who was fielded by a coalition led by Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) won the elections by 98.63 per cent, followed by Phillippe Mpayimana at 0.73 per cent.

Mpayimana has also expressed the desire to vie for a seat in parliament as an independent.

Habineza said he is optimistic that this time round the party will secure more seats.

“We have hope that we cannot fail to get at least 20% of the national vote,” he said.

“The parliamentary elections are different because it won’t be one party against nine but each party fighting for a seat. Of course we wait to see how many will be in the RPF coalition but our chances this time around are higher than last year’s presidential elections,” he noted.

The Green Party was created in August 2009 with its founders saying they were entering the political scene to bring about “genuine and authentic” political opposition in the country.

There are 80 legislators constituting the Lower House.

Others are 24 women who are elected to represent different provinces and the City of Kigali through the National Women Council.

Of these, six women legislators are elected each from Southern, Western and Eastern provinces. Northern Province is represented by four women while the City of Kigali gets two.

Other colleges are the youth, who, through the National Youth Council, are represented by two candidates while the People with Disabilities have one legislator representing them.

Source: http://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/parliamentary-polls-green-party-targets-20-seats