HC Deb 09 July 2003 vol 408 cc818-9W
Tony Baldry

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the prospect for free and fair elections in Rwanda. [124007]

Mr. Mullin

The Rwandan authorities have announced that Presidential and Parliamentary elections will be held in August and September. We have encouraged the Government gradually to open up political space in the run-up to these and to ensure that the elections are free, fair and transparent. A new law governing political organisations and politicians was adopted on 23 June. This prohibits parties from basing themselves onrace, ethnic group, tribe, clan, region, sex, religion or any other division which may give rise to discrimination".

We recognise the Rwandan authorities' concerns over the speed at which political liberalisation occurs within an environment still traumatised by the genocide, and recognise that this will be a long term process.

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