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Rwanda, Government

Under a constitution approved in 1978, the sole political party in Rwanda was the National Revolutionary Movement for Development (NRMD). Executive power was vested in a president, assisted by an appointed council of ministers; legislative power was exercised by an elected National Development Council. A new constitution, promulgated in 1991, provided for a multiparty democracy with a limited presidential term and independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The government collapsed in the civil war of 1994, and the country was taken over by the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The RPF banned political parties that were judged to have participated in massacres during the civil war. As part of a planned five-year transition to civilian rule, the RPF appointed a multiparty Transitional National Assembly in November 1994. However, in 1999 the government claimed ethnic tensions were too high to hold elections and extended the transitional period another five years. In May 1995 the assembly adopted a new constitution based on the 1991 constitution and peace agreements that were signed at the end of the civil war.

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