President Paul Kagame told journalists yesterday that he believes the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) will win the ongoing parliamentary elections.
The President made the statement during a brief encounter with the media shortly after casting his ballot at APE Rugunga polling station in Kiyovu, Kigali.
Polls kicked off at 7am and had closed by 3pm across the country, an exercise in which nearly six million Rwandans picked next Members of Parliament (MPs) to occupy 53 seats that are contested for through universal suffrage.
The other seats of the 80-person house are reserved for special categories, which include women (24), the youth and persons living with disabilities, who are entitled to two and one seat, respectively, in separate polls that will be held under the college arrangement.
Asked whether the RPF-led coalition would again win the polls, the Head of State simply said he guessed so.
“That’s what you feel and hear from Rwandans and I think building on the track record of what RPF has done for the country there is no reason not to believe that RPF will win,” he said.
A coalition led by the RPF won 42 seats out of the 53 openly contested seats in the last parliamentary elections in 2008.
But the President didn’t seem to believe the ruling party would just win the elections without having made efforts in the just concluded parliamentary campaigns.
“I don’t think there is ever an easy win. A win is a win so I just hope and believe that RPF will win,” he said.
The RPF has pledged more progress and dignity for Rwandans if they voted for its candidates in the parliamentary elections.
During the campaigns that ran for three weeks, the party pledged to consolidate the country’s gains under its leadership and to fast-track the national development agenda.
The country has kept a fast growing economy under the RPF-led government, with millions of Rwandans moving above poverty levels over the years.
The party, and its allies PDC. PPC, PSR and PDI, are competing with the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Liberal Party (PL) and Social Party (PS-Imberakuri), and four independent candidates.
Preliminary results from today’s elections by universal suffrage were expected before midnight, according to the chairperson of the National Electoral Commission , Prof. Kalisa Mbanda.