Incumbent leader Paul Kagame swept to a landslide victory in Rwanda’s presidential election, securing a third term in office and extending his 17 years in power, final results showed on Saturday.
Kagame has won international praise for presiding over a peaceful and rapid economic recovery in Rwanda since the 1994 genocide, when an estimated 800,000 people Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.
The 59-year-old leader had secured 98.63 percent of Friday’s vote, according to a final tally released by the National Electoral Commission on Saturday. The board said turnout topped 96.42 percent in the country of 12 million people, in an election that fielded only a single opposition candidate, Frank Habineza, and an independent.
Addressing supporters early on Saturday, Kagame said he would work to sustain economic growth.
“This is another seven years to take care of issues that affect Rwandans and ensure that we become real Rwandans who are (economically) developing,” he said in a speech broadcast live on television.
“What I saw during campaigns is that the decision to continue to lead you drew criticism mainly by foreigners but this proves that the referendum was for real purpose.”
Kagame, a commander who led Tutsi rebel forces into Rwanda to end the 1994 genocide, banned the use of tribal terms after becoming president. He won the last election in 2010 with 93 percent of the vote and had said during this campaign for a further seven-year term that he again expected an outright victory. Read more on this here.