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International Observers to Give Verdict on Rwanda’s Parliamentary Election


International observers of Rwanda's parliamentary election are set to issue their verdict at a news conference today (Wednesday) in the capital, Kigali. Results so far released by the electoral commission puts President Paul Kagame's ruling Rwandan Patriotic Party (RPF) has taken a commanding lead in the 53 member parliament. The results show the ruling party wining 42 of the 53 seats contested in Monday's direct voting, while the opposition Social Democratic party took seven seats, and the Liberal Party won four. But the opposition parties are reportedly protesting that agents of the ruling party intimidated supporters ahead of the parliamentary election.

Jean Bosco Gasasira is the editor of the Umuvugizi independent newspaper. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Kigali that the verdict of the international observers would have no impact on the election.

"The international observers would be briefing the country and the international community about how the election went today Wednesday, whether it was fair or unfair. So, far the electoral observers have been silent on what has been happening, but we are waiting for their press conference. So far the president of the electoral commission says the ruling RPF is leading with 78% meaning that they have 42 seats out of the 53 in the parliament, the Social Democratic party having 13% and the Liberal Party having seven point five percent, which is equivalent to four seats in the Rwandan parliament, and the independent candidate had zero," Gasasira noted.

He said the verdict of the international observers would not have any significant impact on the results of the parliamentary election.

"We think the international observes' comment would not affect a lot because one of their spokesmen, when the president of the electoral commission was announcing the results of the election said that the electoral process was fair," he said.

Gasasira said not all Rwandans are happy about the results of Monday's parliamentary election.

"The independent candidate complained to me during our discussion saying that the results were really unfair because in the whole country he was said to have received 26,000 votes, but he contends the results saying that in the capital, Kigali he got 30,000. Other parties apart from the ruling RPF are really silent about the results of the election, and in the northern part of the country there were some complaints that some people were forced to go and vote for another party against their will, which is contrary to democracy," Gasasira pointed out.

He said some Rwandans are skeptical about the credibility of the results of the election.

"Although on the surface everything seems to be very calm, but the most intriguing thing is that the results were reportedly pre-determined. So, according to what the president of the electoral commission announced, some are of the opinion that the results were cooked for the ruling RPF party… they predetermined what the RPF is going to have and what other parties are going to get in the election because of the ruling party's control and influence," he said.

Gasasira said the media didn't raise concerns expressed by opposition parties in the just ended election after the president of the electoral commission finished announcing the results of the election.

"After the announcement of the results of the election, journalists were quiet. The president of the commission asked the journalists and observers who were there if they had any questions, but they were silent on the matter. But the president of the commission emphasized that the results are all provisional because they were waiting for the results from observes from United States, United Kingdom and Canada and the region adding that their verdict would not have an impact on the results," Gasasira said.


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