Rwanda: It's a Landslide for RPF-Inkotanyi

Photo: New Times
Women in parliament (file photo).
4 September 2018

The governing RPF-Inkotanyi is headed for a landslide victory from Monday's legislative elections, according to partial results released last night by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

With 70 per cent of the votes counted by press time, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)-led coalition, which also includes six smaller parties, had romped to a commanding 75 per cent of the votes.

Social Democratic Party (PSD) was in a distant second with 8.5 per cent and Liberal Party (PL) in third with 7 per cent, while Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) and Social Party (PS)-Imberakuri were tying with 4.5 per cent each.

None of the four independent candidates could muster 1 per cent, according to partial results.

RPF swept nearly all the Diaspora vote, collecting more than 95 per cent.

Speaking to the public broadcaster Rwanda Television last night, Dr Vincent Biruta and Donatille Mukabalisa, the heads of PSD and PL respectively, said they were confident their parties had sealed seats in the next Lower House.

On her part, PS-Imberakuri leader, Christine Mukabunane, whose party was just 0.5 per cent shy of the threshold of 5 per cent required to win a parliamentary seat, said she was still optimistic they would ultimately collect enough votes.

Frank Habineza, the president of the Greens, also expressed confidence that the remaining 30 per cent votes that were yet to be counted would push his party over the line and give them the minimum 5 per cent of the votes.

Mukabunane and Habineza said they were ready to accept people's choice regardless of the outcome of the elections.

"We are democrats and we'll respect the will of the people," Habineza told Rwanda Television.

Both PS-Imberakuri and Green Party have never had a representative in parliament.

If the partial results are anything to go by there will not be significant changes in terms of the political party composition of the Lower House.

In the last election in 2013, RPF coalition won 41 seats.

Supporters of different political parties gathered at specific locations around the capital Kigali to watch the results as they trickled in, with particularly RPF supporters engaging in celebrations.

Over 7 million Rwandans were expected to vote in the direct poll.

Prof. Kalisa Mbanda, the NEC chairperson, said there was a chance every political party in the race could win a seat in the 4th Chamber of Deputies, but ruled out the possibility of any of the four independents making it to the House considering they had scrapped very few votes.

"The remaining (uncounted) votes won't change anything for independent candidates," he said.

The commission is set to release provisional results today and final results later this week.

The Lower House is comprised of 80 MPs, but 27 of them represent special interest groups (Women [24], Youth [2] and Persons with Disabilities [1]) and are picked through electoral colleges representing their respective groups.

Eugene Mussolini, the successful candidate for the people living with disabilities, was the first person to be elected to parliament on Sunday.

Today, women and youth electoral colleges will pick their respective representatives, marking the final of three days of elections, which kicked off Sunday with the Diaspora vote and elections for people living with disabilities.

NEC, police and several observers said yesterday's vote was incident-free.

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