Rwandan President Kagame Heads to Third Term in Landslide Vote

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame had an overwhelming lead early Saturday in his bid for a third term to extend his 17-year reign over the East African country praised for economic growth but dogged by accusations of human-rights abuses.
7 percent of the vote with 74 percent counted after Friday’s election, the National Electoral Commission said on its Twitter account.
The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda’s candidate, Frank Habineza, had 0.
45 percent, and the only other contender, Philippe Mpayimana, an independent, garnered 0.
Kagame, 59, led a rebel army that ended a 1994 genocide in which about 800,000 people died, and he’s been credited with turning Rwanda’s economy into one of Africa’s top performers by cutting red tape and improving infrastructure.
Detractors such as Amnesty International say civil liberties have been cast aside and the vote’s credibility compromised by a violent crackdown on his opponents.
Authorities reject the criticisms.
Kagame was able to seek re-election after a 2015 referendum backed amending the constitution to remove a two-term limit.
After a new, seven-year term, he can run for two further terms of five years each, potentially remaining in office until 2034 when he’s 77.
Preliminary results showed Kagame had 5,433,890 votes, Mpayimana at 39,620 and Habineza with 24,904, the election commission said in its tweet.
The government said 6.
78 million Rwandans were registered to vote.
Landlocked Rwanda’s economy has expanded an average of more than 7 percent a year since Kagame took office in 2000, and is expected to grow 6.
1 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Its biggest industries and sources of foreign exchange are tea, coffee, tourism and mining.
In its election manifesto, the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front pledged to create jobs, partner with private companies to encourage new industry, build about 3,800 kilometers (2,361 miles) of roads and increase mineral exploration.

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