5 Aug 2017

Rwanda election: Kagame takes 98% of vote

2:51 pm on 5 August 2017

The electoral commission in Rwanda has announced that President Paul Kagame has won a third term in office with a landslide.

Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame gestures as he arrives to cast his vote at a polling station in Kigali,

Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame casting his vote in Kigali. Photo: Supplied

The commission said partial results of Friday's election had given him 98 percent of the vote.

Mr Kagame's supporters began celebrating before the announcement.

They say that he has brought stability and economic development after the horrors of the 1994 genocide.

But his critics - most of whom are outside the country - say he has ruled through fear.

Mr Kagame, who has been in power for 17 years, was challenged by Frank Habineza and Philippe Mpayimana.

He came to power in 1994, when his rebel group took control of the capital, Kigali, ending the genocide in which some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered.

Rwanda's constitution was amended in 2015, giving Mr Kagame a chance to stay in power until 2034.

The two challengers have complained that their supporters are being intimidated, which they say explains the low turnout at their pre-election rallies.

The candidates have also accused some local authorities of undermining their campaign.

The ruling party denies any accusations of wrongdoing.

Paul Kagame at a glance:

  • Seen as military genius
  • His rebel forces helped end 1994 genocide - he has been in power ever since
  • Twice invaded much larger neighbour, DR Congo
  • Accused of suppressing the opposition and ordering assassination of critics
  • Sees Singapore and South Korea as models - economy growing at 7% a year
  • Champions women's rights; most MPs are women

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