The cost of the upcoming elections, estimated at about 200 million Rwandan francs (about 220,000 U.S. dollars), is about half of that of the last ones, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) said on Thursday.

Government said it will fully fund the elections scheduled in September, this year.

“Thanks to the availability of most polling materials such as ballot boxes and indelible ink left from the previous elections, NEC executive secretary Charles Munyaneza explained the reason behind the cost cut.

The government funded 85 percent of the expenditure for the previous Senate elections in 2011, said Munyaneza.

The cost of civic education and training polling officials has also been reduced because of collaboration with other partners, he said.

In the upcoming Sep. 16-18 elections, 18 out of the total 26 seats in the Senate will be elected.

These include 12 members representing the country’s four provinces and the capital city who will be voted through electoral colleges, four senators elected by the Consultative Forum of Political Organizations, one senator representing public universities and higher learning institutions, and another one elected from private universities and higher learning institutions.

Eight other senators will be appointed by Rwanda’s president.

Prospective candidates can register with the electoral commission from July 22 to Aug. 9 and election campaigns will start on Aug. 27 and close on Sept. 15, according to the NEC.

Rwandan senators were previously eligible to serve an eight-year non-renewable term until the 2015 Constitution amendment slashed it to a five-year term which is renewable once.

 

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