Rwanda

Rwanda: Diaspora to vote in elections

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NAIROBI, 12 March (IRIN) - The Rwandan diaspora will be allowed to vote in all elections scheduled for 2003, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported on Monday.
However, only those who will be registered with Rwandan embassies will vote, according to Damien Habumuremyi, the executive secretary of the Rwandan electoral commission.

The news agency reported that Rwandans who had declared their status as refugees would not vote in the referendum on the new constitution scheduled for May, nor in presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for August and October, respectively.

RNA quoted Habumuremyi as saying that more than four million people were eligible voters with 1,600 polling stations in the country and 10,000 polling centres. He said the electoral commission had invited 350 observers from different countries.

"We hope they [the elections] will be a success," he said, noting that "in 1999, 2001 and in 2002, elections at district levels were a success, so we hope that these three will also be a success".

The Rwandan Patriotic Front took power in July 1994, after a three-month genocide that claimed more than 800,000 lives. This year's elections will mark the end of the transitional government in Rwanda.

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