- Rwandan women have taken 44 of 80 seats in parliament following Monday polls, preliminary results show. The number is also set to rise if three seats reserved for disabled and youth representatives go to female candidates.
Rwanda already held record for most women members of parliament because of its post-genocide constitution which ensures that 30 percent of members should be women. In the outgoing parliament, 48.8 percent of MPs were women but in the new parliament it is set to rise to at least 55 per cent.
Rwandan electoral commission says 54.9 percent of 4.7-million registered voters are now women.
"We want our representatives to promote education and health, and to fight against discrimination against women. But when we vote, we are not interested in political parties," said Brigitte, a mother of five and a professor of chemistry at University of Kigali.
Bellancilla Nyonawankusi, a Kigali official responsible for ensuring smooth running of the voting, added by saying women lawmakers carry a double burden.
"The role of the elected females is double: they must on the one hand concern themselves with implementation of government decisions, and on the other be a voice for the grassroots," she said.
Since genocide, Kigali government has put in place initiatives to encourage women to enter politics. Some Rwandans say their numbers in parliament reflect bitterness with the country's male, genocide-era politicians.
Women who stood in seats reserved for female candidates were not allowed to represent a party.
In the 80-seat parliament, president Paul Kagame's Tutsi-led Rwanda Patriotic Front won 42 seats - 78.8 percent of vote, while Social Democrat Party took seven seats and Liberal Party four seats.
It was second parliamentary elections since genocide of 1994 when some 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu militias in 100 days of slaughter.
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