About 7.1 million Rwandans are expected to vote for their representatives in the Lower House today.
The National Electoral Commission said yesterday it will announce partial results from both today’s poll inside the country and Sunday’s Diaspora vote.
Rwandans in the Diaspora cast their ballots in the general direct poll yesterday – on the same electoral colleges for persons with disabilities also picked a representative of this special interest group.
“Voting will end at 3p.m and we expect to start counting immediately,” Charles Munyaneza, NEC executive-secretary, said yesterday.
He added: “Officials at polling stations will transmit results to (the tallying centre) at the district level, from where the results from that particular district will be tallied and consolidated.
“The districts will then submit the results to the national level where we will be doing another consolidation, we expect to start consolidation and to releasing partial results tomorrow (today) between 8p.m and 9p.m.”
According to Munyaneza, preliminary results will be released on Tuesday.
A coalition of seven parties led by the governing Rwanda Patriotic Party are the frontrunners heading into the polls, the fourth legislative elections since the end of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
In each of the previous legislative elections RPF romped to victory, winning about 40 of the 53 seats that are up for grabs in direct poll.
The Lower House is comprised of 80 MPs, but 27 of them represent special interest groups [Women (27), Youth (2) and Persons with Disabilities (1)] and are picked through electoral colleges representing those groups.
Four other political parties, namely Social Democratic Party (PSD), Liberal Party (PL), Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) and Social Party (PS)-Imberakuri are the other contestants, while four independent candidates are also on the ballot paper.
For an individual or political party to win a seat in the Chamber of Deputies they need to garner at least 5 per cent of the votes cast, while the number of seats a party wins depends on the percentage of votes collected from the polls.
Eugene Mussolini was last evening declared by NEC as the provisional winner of the elections for Persons Living with Disabilities, garnering 75.5 per cent, with incumbent Gaston Rusiha coming in a distant second with 14.5 per cent.
Eight other candidates shared the remaining votes.
While voters inside the country make their choice through universal suffrage today, electoral colleges for women and the youth will elect their representatives tomorrow, the final day of a three-day electoral exercise.
President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame, who are in China for this year’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, cast their votes from the Rwandan embassy in Beijing yesterday.
NEC chairperson Prof. Kalisa Mbanda told a media briefing last evening that Sunday’s elections – both in the direct poll in the Diaspora and the indirect elections for persons with disabilities – were peaceful.
“The elections were peaceful across the country and in the Diaspora, and we expect that the remaining categories (of elections) will be conducted in a peaceful environment as well,” he said.
An estimated 75,000 volunteers are supporting the commission in the ongoing exercise, which is being conducted at 2,471 polling stations and 17,146 polling rooms across the country.
The elections will cost Rwf5.4 billion, according to NEC.