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Commonwealth Expert Team: Rwanda 2013 Legislative Election

10 - 23 September 2013
A Commonwealth Expert Team observed Rwanda’s 16-18 September 2013 Legislative Election.

The team was established by the Commonwealth Secretary-General at the invitation of the National Electoral Commission of Rwanda.

Commonwealth response: 

The team was led by Tiro Seeletso, Secretary to the Independent Electoral Commission of Botswana. He was joined by Russ Hiebert, a Member of Parliament from Canada. The two were supported by staff from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The observers observed the preparations for the election, the polling, counting and results process as a whole and, where appropriate, made recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral framework in Rwanda. 

The team must act impartially and independently, and conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Elections Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.


The team found that overall, the election was peaceful and provided for the key democratic electoral benchmarks such as freedom of association, expression, and universal suffrage.

It further noted that the National Electoral Commission was well prepared and mobilised to conduct the election.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said in October 2013: "The Team noted with satisfaction the electoral reforms that have taken place since the 2010 Presidential Elections. Of particular note, in this context, is the establishment of the Rwanda Governance Board, which now has the mandate to register political parties.

"While much progress has been made, the team found that much more can be done to ensure continued confidence in the electoral process. The team urged the relevant authorities to consider putting in place fairly equal requirements for registration and allocation of Parliamentary seats for independent candidates and political party candidates, and to significantly strengthen the capacity of the media, particularly in terms of investigative reporting and political commentary and analysis."

The team’s report provides further recommendations on key aspects of the Rwandan electoral and related processes, which the team believes could bolster the country’s electoral capacity for future elections.

The report was submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who in turn sent it to the Government of Rwanda, the National Election Commission of Rwanda and political parties, and thereafter made public.