World

Rwandan lawmakers back petition that favors more time in office for President Paul Kagame

  • Men and women dance and ululate after Rwandan MPs voted in favor of a petition to remove presidential term limits, at the parliament in Kigali, Rwanda Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Rwandan lawmakers on Tuesday voted in support of a petition seeking to remove presidential term limits from the country's constitution, starting a process that could see President Paul Kagame rule beyond two terms. (AP Photo/Denyse Uwera Kamugwiza)

    Men and women dance and ululate after Rwandan MPs voted in favor of a petition to remove presidential term limits, at the parliament in Kigali, Rwanda Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Rwandan lawmakers on Tuesday voted in support of a petition seeking to remove presidential term limits from the country's constitution, starting a process that could see President Paul Kagame rule beyond two terms. (AP Photo/Denyse Uwera Kamugwiza)  (The Associated Press)

  • Rwandan MPs discuss a national petition urging lawmakers to remove presidential term limits, at the parliament in Kigali, Rwanda Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Rwandan lawmakers on Tuesday voted in support of a petition seeking to remove presidential term limits from the country's constitution, starting a process that could see President Paul Kagame rule beyond two terms. (AP Photo/Denyse Uwera Kamugwiza)

    Rwandan MPs discuss a national petition urging lawmakers to remove presidential term limits, at the parliament in Kigali, Rwanda Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Rwandan lawmakers on Tuesday voted in support of a petition seeking to remove presidential term limits from the country's constitution, starting a process that could see President Paul Kagame rule beyond two terms. (AP Photo/Denyse Uwera Kamugwiza)  (The Associated Press)

Rwandan lawmakers have voted in support of a petition seeking to remove presidential term limits from the country's constitution, which could extend President Paul Kagame's time in office.

Before voting Tuesday, the lawmakers deliberated on a national petition urging them to remove term limits so Kagame can run again when his current term expires in 2017. A parliamentary committee will now consider the proposal, and later it will be subjected to a national referendum.

Kagame became president in 2000 and had been the country's de facto leader since the end of the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

Kagame's government is credited with turning around Rwanda's economy in the years since the genocide, but critics say he is an authoritarian ruler who does not tolerate opposition.