Kagame set to win Rwanda election by around 98%: partial results
Kigali, Rwanda | AFP | Rwanda President Paul Kagame is set to win a third term in office with a landslide of around 98 percent of votes, according to partial results released by the electoral commission Saturday.
With 80 percent of results counted, Kagame had secured some 5.4 million votes, far more than the 50 percent plus one required for him to win re-election.
The commission estimates 97 percent of 6.9 million voters turned out to cast their ballots.
“We think that at this level tomorrow it will be the same result, no change after having counted 100 percent (of votes),” said national elections commission chairman Kalisa Mbanda.
Of the results tallied, Kagame had 98.66 percent, while his two little-known rivals barely made a dent.
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.