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Elections

Kagame’s ruling RPF heads for landslide win in Rwandan election

The party of Rwandan President Paul Kagame has clinched a landslide win in parliamentary elections, with a large majority of the votes already counted. Turnout was said to have been almost 100 percent.

The National Election Commission (NEC) said on Tuesday that the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) had won 76.22 percent of the vote, with three-quarters of all ballots in the Monday poll counted so far.

Trailing a long way behind were the Social Democrats at 13.03 percent and the Liberals with 9.29 percent. Both of the two smaller parties are seen as essentially being allies of the RPF.

No other party or independent candidate had garnered more than 0.6 percent of the vote, according to NEC executive secretary Charles Munyaneza.

"We can safely say that there will be no major change in the results," NEC President Kalisa Mbanda told the AFP news agency.

Among those parties unable to make any impact was the PS-Imberakuri party, whose former leader Bernard Ntaganda was jailed in 2010 for crimes against state security and "sectarianism."

The elections on Monday were for the 53 directly elected seats in the 80-member parliament. The other 27 seats - set aside for women, the disabled and youth representatives - were to be indirectly elected by local and national councils on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Rwandan Green Party leader Frank Habineza said the polls had been a foregone conclusion amid claims that the country is rapidly becoming a one-party state. "The ruling party...has no challengers, there is no opposition," he said. Rwanda's Greens complain they were only given permission to stand in the election when it was too late to mount an effective campaign.

According to pro-government newspapers, Kagame may intend to stand for re-election for a third presidential term in 2017. That would require the assembly to change the constitution. Kagame has been credited with transforming the country's fortunes since the genocide of 1994. Almost a million people were killed, mostly from the Tutsi ethnic group at the hands of Hutu extremists.

Since then, the country has enjoyed a period of rapid economic growth with a booming private sector.

rc/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)