Rwanda is a presidential republic with a multi-party system. The president of Rwanda is the head of state and has broad powers including creating policy in conjunction with the Cabinet of Rwanda, exercising the prerogative of mercy, commanding the armed forces, negotiating and ratifying treaties, signing presidential orders, and declaring war or a state of emergency. The government is elected by popular vote every seven years, and appoints the prime minister and all other members of the cabinet. The President is Paul Kagame, who took office upon the resignation of his predecessor, Pasteur Bizimungu in 2000.
In 2003 and 2010, Kagame subsequently won the elections although they were criticized by the human rights organization as being marked by increasing political repression and a crackdown on free speech. Rwanda has two chambers of parliament where the Chamber of Deputies has 80 seats whose members serve five years. In this chamber, 24 seats are reserved for women and three are reserved for the disabled and youth members and then the remaining seats are selected by universal suffrage. The Senate has 26 seats and the senators who are selected by a number of bodies serve terms of 8 years. Following the 2018 election, there are 49 female deputies down from 51 in 2013. As of 2020, Rwanda is one of the only three countries in Africa with a female majority in the parliament.
Rwanda’s legal system is largely based on German and Belgian civil law systems and customary law. The judiciary is independent of the executive branch, although the president and the senate are involved in the appointment of Supreme Court judges. The constitution provides two types of courts – ordinary court that characterizes the supreme court, the High court and the regional court while the specialized courts are military courts.
Since 1994, the RPF has dominated politics. While it is seen as a Tutsi-dominated party, it receives wide support and credit for the country’s stability.