Paul Kagame has won a third term as President after a crushing victory in Rwanda’s elections, extending his 17-year premiership.
“It is clear that President Paul Kagame, who has 98.66 per cent, is in the lead,” said electoral commission head Kalisa Mbanda. He said 80 percent of the vote has so far been accounted for.
Mr Kagame, 59, who has led Rwanda since his rebels ended the 1994 genocide that left more than 800,000 people dead, told a campaign rally in July that “the day of the presidential elections will just be a formality.”
He was running against Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda — the only permitted opposition party — and independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana.
Three potential candidates were disqualified for allegedly failing to fulfil requirements including collecting enough signatures.
Candidates had been barred from putting campaign posters in most public places, including schools and hospitals. The electoral commission vetted candidates’ campaign messages, warning that their social media accounts could be blocked otherwise.
More than 80 percent of Rwanda’s 6.9 million registered voters cast their ballots, according to Charles Munyaneza, executive secretary of the Rwanda Electoral Commission.
While Mr Kagame remains popular for presiding over economic growth, critics accuse him of being intolerant to criticism and of using state powers to remove perceived opponents.
Rwandan authorities, including Mr Kagame, deny claims his government targets dissidents for assassination or disappearances.