The ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) is on course for a landslide victory in Monday’s parliamentary election, according to preliminary results released last night by the National Electoral Commission chief Prof. Kalisa Mbanda.
The partial results, representing 75 per cent of the total votes cast, released at midnight, indicated that the RPF and its coalition partners garnered 76.07 per cent.
In absolute figures, the RPF collected 3,395,962 votes out of 4,462,917 votes that had been tallied.
A total of 5,953,531 Rwandans were expected to take part in the election for 53 openly contested seats in an 80-member Chamber of Deputies.
“We expect to have all the preliminary results by midday tomorrow (today) but we don’t think it will significantly alter the overall performance as indicated by the preliminary results obtained so far,” Prof. Mbanda said on the state radio shortly after midnight.
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) came a distant second with 580,476 votes (13.01 per cent), followed by the Liberal Party (PL) with 418,718 (9.38 per cent), and PS-Imberakuri, which scraped 24,991 votes, equivalent to a paltry 0.56 per cent of the total votes cast.
Independent candidates trail, with Gilbert Mwenedata leading the pack with 18,778 votes, equivalent to 0.42 per cent, then Venuste Bizirema with 16,061 votes (0.36 per cent), Clovis Ganza 10,305 votes (0.23 per cent), and Leonille Mutuyimana, who only mustered 6,843 votes, representing a measly 0.15 per cent of the total votes.
The above results do not include the Diaspora vote, which the RPF also swept with 85 per cent. A total of 31,514 Rwandans in the Diaspora were expected to cast their ballot on Sunday, a day before the Election Day back home.
From the preliminary results received by midnight, voter turnout stood at 94 per cent, according to Charles Munyaneza, the NEC executive secretary.
Independent candidates lose out
Going by the partial results it is almost obvious that the Chamber of Deputies remains a no-go area for independent politicians since only a miracle can salvage the minimum 5 per cent required for anyone to land a parliamentary seat in this category that is decided through universal suffrage.
The preliminary results also show that the 53 openly contested seats will be shared among President Paul Kagame’s RPF (out of 80 candidates on the coalition list only eight are from the four RPF allies), the Education minister Dr Vincent Biruta’s PSD, and Sports and Culture minister Protais Mitali’s PL.
This means Christine Mukabunani’s PS-Imberakuri has almost certainly failed to join Parliament at the first ask.
The parties that ran alongside RPF include the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC), Parti du Progrès et la Concorde (PPC), Parti Socialiste Rwandais (PSR) and the Ideal Democratic Party (PDI).
The preliminary results are largely a reflection of the outcome of the 2008 parliamentary polls when the RPF-led coalition carried the day with 78 per cent.
At the time, PSD and PL collected 13 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively, and effectively won seven seats and four seats in the Lower House.
The final results will be announced on September 25.
The polls passed without incident, according to NEC.
Today women electoral colleges will elect candidates to occupy the 24 exclusively women slots in the Chamber of Parliament, while electoral colleges for the youth (2 seats) and the disabled (one) will pick their representatives tomorrow, marking the end of three days of elections across the country.
Contact email: james.munyaneza[at]newtimes.co.rw