Kagame headed for landslide win as poll results trickle in
Kigali, Rwanda | AFP | Rwandan President Paul Kagame looked set for a landslide victory Friday as election results trickling in showed the incumbent with an average 98 percent of the vote in districts counted. The 59-year-old is expected to easily win a third seven-year term at the helm of the east African nation.
The electoral commission released 40 percent of results late Friday, in which Kagame led his two little-known opponents with a whopping 99.38 percent.
Provisional turnout is 97 percent of the 6.9 million registered voters.
Around the country Rwandans gathered to hear the results, with some already celebrating a win for Kagame. At a gymnasium in the capital loud music blared and dancers took to the floor to entertain several hundred people.
“We are celebrating the presidential election,” said one young man as he danced. “We are celebrating Paul Kagame!” another yelled out next to him.
Kagame has been the de-facto leader of Rwanda since, as a 36-year-old, his rebel army routed extremist Hutu forces who slaughtered an estimated 800,000 people — mainly minority Tutsis — and seized Kigali in 1994.
He was appointed president by lawmakers in 2000 before being elected in 2003 and again in 2010 with more than 90 percent of votes.
Kagame is credited with a remarkable turnaround in the shattered nation, which boasts annual economic growth of about seven percent, is safe, clean and does not tolerate corruption. Rwanda also has the highest number of female lawmakers in the world.