Rwanda's Kagame expects landslide win in elections

Sun Aug 8, 2010 12:44pm GMT
 

By Hereward Holland

KIGALI (Reuters) - Rwanda's President Paul Kagame is expected to win a resounding victory in Monday's election, partly due to the growth and stability he has delivered since the 1994 genocide and partly because of a crackdown on rivals.

Rights groups and foreign diplomats say signs of repression have marred the runup to the poll, although donors expect it to be peaceful and say the revised electoral code will make it more transparent than in 2003 when Kagame won 95 percent of the vote.

Kagame is applauded locally and internationally for rebuilding institutions, promoting women, boosting agricultural output and tripling household income.

His two main rivals in the presidential race offer little genuine alternative, having spent 16 years as part of the ruling coalition led by his Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

"RPF is strong, it is organised, it has planned over a long time, historically it has been with the people to resolve challenging issues and therefore that results in a kind of overwhelming support," Kagame told reporters on his last day of campaigning.

"I have no regrets about it, I make no apologies."

Rights group Amnesty International says the poll will take place in a climate of fear.

Registration troubles prevented three outspoken parties from fielding candidates. Two party chiefs were arrested on charges including stirring ethnic hatred and genocide ideology. Opponents say they have been threatened and intimidated.   Continued...

<p>Rwanda's President Paul Kagame attends a political rally by the the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in the capital Kigali, May 15, 2010. REUTERS/Hereward Holland</p>
 
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