Rwandan President Paul Kagame is set to win a second seven-year term with early results from Monday's presidential poll showing that he won over 90 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Rwandan leader Paul Kagame looks certain to have secured an overwhelming victory in presidential elections that took place on Monday.
Kagame celebrated his assured win by dancing with thousands of supporters late into the night.
FRANCE 24’s Stephane Braquhais, reporting from Kigali, said: “This morning in he capital we heard cheering and car horns. All night supporters had danced with Kagame, his family and members of the government.”
FRANCE 24 REPORTERS
On Tuesday morning provisional results showed Kagame had won a massive 92.9 percent of the vote. The nearest challenger, Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), took just 4.9 percent.
The result was not unexpected: Kagame is overwhelmingly popular in Rwanda largely because of the economic growth and political stability the East African country has enjoyed while he has been at the helm.
But his victory has also been attributed to a crackdown on rivals and critics in the run-up to the election. The three opposition candidates are all closely allied to the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
Several other candidates were not allowed to stand while other government critics have been attacked in recent weeks in suspicious circumstances.
Avoiding a return to violence
Yet the overwhelming feeling in Rwanda is positive, despite the lack of a real opposition voice.
FRANCE 24’s Stephane Braquhais, reporting from Rwanda, said people were happy to go along with Kagame despite the silencing of dissenting voices.
“One Rwandan voter told me that peace was the most important thing, that people want to be able to live side by side with one another,” he said. “But what is striking is the feeling that this peace should continue even while opposition is stifled. People fear a return to the violence that the country suffered 16 years ago.”
Kagame has been in control of Rwanda since his (Tutsi) rebel army swept to power after the 1994 genocide, in which 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.
He has been president of Rwanda since 2000. He won the last election in 2003 - the first since the 1994 genocide - with 95 percent of the vote.
The minority Tutsis were traditional rulers of Rwanda before the colonial era undermined their leadership role and handed power back to the majority Hutus.