Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rwandan Government Bars Registration Of New Opposition Party

By Dow Jones Newswires
March 6, 2009

KIGALI, Rwanda (AFP)--The Rwandan government has barred the registration of a new opposition party, a statement said Friday, prompting protests by its leader that the central African regime is undemocratic.

The government refused to register the Ideal Social Party, arguing that "it does not meet all the conditions required by the law on political parties and actors."
ISP leader Bernard Ntaganda told AFP his party would file a complaint and blamed the rebuttal on political interference.

"There are individuals who have intervened to ensure the registration of our party was rejected," said Ntaganda, a former member of the Social Democratic Party, who launched his own movement in January.

"If Rwanda is a democratic country advocating political pluralism, why look for baseless excuses to reject us?" Ntaganda said.

Ntaganda said the reasons given for barring his party were that three of its founding members didn't have valid ID papers and that its acronym could be confused with that of Population Services International, a U.S.-based non- governmental organization.

Besides President Paul Kagame's ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, the country has eight other officially registered political parties, most of which support the regime.

Rwanda's opposition parties are all in exile, and Kagame's party contested parliamentary elections held in September last year virtually unopposed.

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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