In May 2003, Rwanda adopted a new
constitution, whose main purpose is to prevent future
genocide. The constitution also stipulates that the
country should be a democracy with multi-party systems.
In reality, since the turn of the millennium, Rwanda has
moved in an authoritarian direction and it is difficult
The Constitution places a strong emphasis on
"national unity". Blowing rash hatred is forbidden.
Parties may not identify themselves with a people group,
religion, clan, gender "or any other criterion that may
give rise to discrimination". The need for unity is
underlined by the fact that no party may hold more than
half the seats in the government, regardless of the
number of seats in parliament. The President and the
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies (see below) may not
belong to the same party.
Total population and chart of Rwanda for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The President has great power. She is head of state
and commander-in-chief, has the right to issue
declarations of war and call for state of emergency and
decide on a referendum. The president approves laws and
can initiate legislation himself. It is the president
who appoints the prime minister (the head of government)
and the highest heads of the military, the police, the
judiciary, the state administration and the central
bank. Other government ministers are appointed by the
president on the recommendation of the prime minister.
The president is elected for seven years in general
elections. Previously, the president could only be
re-elected once, but this was changed in 2015 to allow
Paul Kagame (president since 2000) to run for a third
term in the 2017 election. law violations.
The legislative Parliament consists of two chambers.
There are 80 members in the Chamber of Deputies
(lower house), of which 53 are elected and the others
are indirectly appointed (see below). The term of office
is five years. In the indirectly elected Senate
(upper house), there are 26 members in eight years. They
are elected by a so-called electoral college consisting
mainly of local politicians and representatives of
In the Chamber of Deputies, women are guaranteed at
least 24 seats (30 percent of seats). They are also
elected by an electoral college which includes, among
other things, the president. Together with the women who
are elected, this has given Rwanda the world's highest
representation of women in parliament. Two members of
the Chamber of Deputies are appointed by the National
Youth Council and one by organizations for the disabled.
Administratively, Rwanda is divided into five
provinces, governed by government-appointed governors.
The provinces are divided into 30 districts, 416 sectors
and over 9,000 "cells" led by elected representatives.
Although the constitution guarantees free party
formation, the rules of unity and prohibition against
discrimination tend to lead to the suppression of the
opposition. The critics got water at their mill when the
hut-dominated MDR (see below) was banned in 2003. Also,
a ban on conducting political electoral movement at the
local level is considered to consolidate the ruling
Tutsidominated party's holding of power.
Political life is completely dominated by
Rwanda's patriotic front (Front Patriotique
Rwandais, FPR, also known as the
English abbreviation RPF). Despite
attempts to emerge as a single party, FPR is strongly
associated with the Tutsi minority. The party does not
have its own majority in parliament but dominates it
through cooperation with some small parties without
significant own profile. In practice, the support of
these parties means that the FPR has a stronger grip on
the government than the rule on at most half of the
ministerial posts allows.
When the Hut-dominated Republican Democratic
Movement (Mouvement Démocratique Républicain,
MDR) was dissolved by Parliament in
2003, almost all opposition was silenced. The occasional
opposition parties that are still tolerated have a hard
time being any real counter-force to FPR.
Three opposition parties in exile joined forces in
the United Democratic Forces (UDF)
in 2006, but it has been refused registration and has
therefore not been able to stand in elections. The UDF's
leading representatives moved back to Rwanda in 2010,
where in particular the chairman Victoire Ingabire has
been subjected to harassment by the authorities. In
2012, Ingabire was sentenced to eight years in prison
(the following year extended to 15 years) for "treason"
and for impairing genocide by pointing out that Hutus
were also killed. She was pardoned by President Kagame
in 2018 and released.
In 2009, the Social Party Imberakuri
(Parti Social Imberakuri) was recognized as an official
opposition party and in 2013 the Democratic
Green Party (Parti Démocratique Vert) was
allowed to register. The Social Democratic Party
(Parti Social Démocrate) and the Liberal Party
(Parti Libéral) both refer to themselves as independent
but in practice act as support parties to the FPR.
Since the 2018 elections, in addition to the FPR, the
Democratic Green Party, the Social Democratic Party, the
Liberal Party, the Social Party Imberakuri and four FPR
faithful small parties are also represented in
Parliament. Of these, only the Democratic Green Party
can be described as a genuine opposition party.
In 2010, the Rwanda National Congress
(RNC) was formed by volatile Rwandans
in the United States. Most of them had previously been
highly regarded in the military and / or FPR but had
broken with President Kagame.
The armed resistance movement FDLR, with its roots in
the genocide, is still active in Congo-Kinshasa but is
mostly engaged in looting and abuse of the local
population there and no longer poses any threat to
Kagame is accused of shooting down the 1994 presidential plan
Rwanda interrupts diplomatic relations with France after a French judge
accused President Kagame of ordering the firing of the then president's aircraft
in 1994. The judge is prosecuting nine of Kagame's closest associates.
Inquire about the role of France
Rwanda opens public hearings on France's role in the genocide.
France's role in the genocide is being investigated
The government appoints a commission made up of historians, lawyers and
military to investigate France's possible support for the Hutu regime that
carried out the genocide.
The number of provinces is decreasing
The country's twelve provinces are being converted to just five. The
intention is for all provinces to become more ethnically mixed and for
provincial names associated with the genocide to disappear.