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Last Updated: Friday, 4 July, 2003, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Rwanda sets election date
Woman waits to vote in last month's referendum
A new constitution was approved in a referendum last month
Rwanda is to hold its first presidential election since the 1994 genocide on 25 August, the government has announced.

Parliamentary polls will follow on 29 September.

The elections mark the end of a transition period after the killing of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.

A new constitution overwhelmingly adopted in a referendum last month is intended to prevent the political domination of any one party or ethnic group.

Nobody wishes to take the wrong turn along the route
Charles Munyaneza
Electoral commission
The ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front is meeting over the weekend to choose its presidential candidate and is expected to select President Paul Kagame, from the Tutsi minority.

Party dissolved

Former Prime Minister Faustin Twagiramungu has also said he will contest the elections.

He returned home last month. However, his Democratic Republican Movement party was recently dissolved for allegedly spreading politics of ethnicity and so he will stand as an independent candidate.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda
Kagame is expected to be named as the ruling party candidate

"These will be the first multiparty elections for Rwanda since independence" from Belgium in 1962, said Charles Munyaneza, deputy executive secretary at the electoral commission.

"Both presidential and parliamentary elections are very significant because they are going to drive Rwanda out of the transition and nobody wishes to take the wrong turn along the route," he said.

A moderate Hutu, Mr Twagiramungu was prime minister of Rwanda's post-genocide government of national unity before he was sacked in 1995.

Under the new constitution, the president is elected for seven years and is limited to two terms in office.

The president and the prime minister must come from different parties and no party can hold more than half of the seats in cabinet.

Rwandan ex-PM goes home
20 Jun 03  |  Africa
New era looms in Rwanda
27 May 03  |  Africa
Rwanda votes on constitution
26 May 03  |  Africa
Rwanda opposition 'silenced'
08 May 03  |  Africa
Timeline: Rwanda
05 Mar 03  |  Country profiles

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