Rwandan Senate approves constitutional change allowing third term for Kagame

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Senate of Rwanda today voted to amend the country's constitution to allow a third term for President Paul Kagame.

President Kagame last year.
Image: Veni Markovski.

The changes, which require a referendum before becoming law, reduce the current limit of two seven-year Presidential terms to two five-year terms. Kagame receives an exemption allowing another seven-year term before starting to count his five-year terms. If approved the amendments can keep him in power until 2034.

Following Rwanda's genocide Kagame grew popular at home and abroad, leading to over three million petitioners demanding he be allowed to run again. The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front has already gained approval from Parliament and seen off a Supreme Court challenge by the opposition Democratic Green Party.

Kagame has yet to decide if he will run again. Opposition leader Frank Habineza says his party will continue to oppose the change. Senate leader Bernard Makuza says he expects the referendum, the date of which is not yet set, to succeed.