Legislative elections: Parties applaud peaceful process

Green Party flag bearer Frank Habineza casts his vote at GS Kimironko II in Kigali. / Sam Ngendahimana

Political parties that contested in the legislative elections on Monday hailed the peaceful campaign and expressed optimism to secure seats in parliament.

The general elections took place in the country Monday, attracting about seven million voters.

This follows a similar exercise that took place in the Diaspora, in which thousands participated.

The general elections pitted political parties including RPF-Inkotanyi and six allied parties, Liberal Party, Social Democratic Party, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda and PS Imberakuri.

It also has independents; Elissam Salim Ntibanyendera, Ally Hussein Sebagenzi, Phillippe Mpayimana and Janvier Nsengiyumva.

The polling centres close at 3pm and according to the National Electoral Commission (NEC), counting will start immediately.

During interviews, representatives of political parties who spoke to The New Times expressed optimism, each expecting to secure more than others.

Wellars Gasamagera, the spokesperson of Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), said the party would secure a landslide victory adding that together with their allied parties, they were eying more seats than they had in the previous parlianment.

The seats are determined by the percentage of votes garnered, which are calculated against the 53 seats that are being contested through direct ballot.

“I would say that we will secure the majority as usual but we can as well get more seats than we had in the outgoing parliament because we ran a successful campaign,” said Gasamagera

RPF and its coalition had 41 seats in the outgoing parliament.

The party’s chairman Paul Kagame, who is the incumbent President, joined diaspora on Sunday to cast his ballot in Beijing where he is attending the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Vincent Biruta, president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD,) cast his vote at Kibagabaga Christian School early in the morning.

The head of 27-year-old party told The New Times that while he could not predict the percentage of votes, his party would secure more seats than what they had in the outgoing parliament.

“We have managed to campaign countrywide and voters heard of our manifesto, we hope that we will today win a landslide because that is why one goes in a competition like elections,” said Biruta.

In the past legislative elections, PSD got 13 per cent of the votes cast, which earned them seven seats in the last house.

The leader of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) Frank Habineza voted from Ecole Primaire Kimironko II polling station along with party secretary general Jean-Claude Ntezimana.

“The campaigns were very successful this time, we have campaigned in 25 districts and we had presence of our party members in the remaining five districts. I am expecting that my party will win at least over 20 percent of today’s vote, so we expect to have more than 10 members in the parliament,” Habineza said on Monday.

Donatille Mukabalisa, the immediate former speaker of parliament and leader of Liberal Party (PL), said they expect to get more than the five seats it had in the outgoing parliament.

“Rwandans have got used to peaceful campaigns and peaceful elections, we had not had any incident in both occasions so far, and as PL has been part of the three past parliaments, there is no doubt we will as well win seats, our expectation is to get more seats than before,” said Mukabalisa, who cast her vote from SOS school in Kagugu, Kinyinya Sector in Gasabo District.

She is also number one on the list of PL candidates.

Christine Mukabunani, the chairperson of PS Imberakuri, said her party will secure seats in the August House unlike in previous elections which they lost.

“The hope in the competition is always 100 percent, our hope remains that and we hope it will be a joyful night,” she said. She voted from GS Gatenga in Gatenga Sector, Kicukiro district.

Partial results will be announced between 8pm and 9pm according to the electoral commission.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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