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Rwanda Officials Say Incumbant President Wins Landslide Election


Official results of Monday's presidential election in Rwanda are expected within the next few hours. But the National Electoral Commission has announced that the incumbent president, Paul Kagame, has won a landslide victory.

Supporters of President Kagame continued celebrating their candidate's win throughout the day in the capital, Kigali.

The celebrations began in the early hours of the morning when provisional results showed Mr. Kagame overwhelmingly in the lead, with more than 94-percent of the votes.

At a victory rally in Kigali's national stadium, the Rwandan leader told jubilant supporters that he viewed the poll result as a clear mandate to continue the work he began nine-years ago.

In 1994, as leader of a Tutsi rebel army, Mr. Kagame ousted the extremist Hutu government that orchestrated the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Since then, Mr. Kagame has been credited with rehabilitating Rwanda's shattered economy and starting the process of reconciliation between Rwanda's two major ethnic groups.

But his main challenger in the presidential race, Faustin Twagiramungu, says he rejects Mr. Kagame's claim of a mandate. The moderate Hutu is calling for new elections, saying much of the voting took place in an atmosphere of intimidation and coercion by the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) party.

"I will write a letter addressed to the Supreme Court, according to Rwandan law," he said. "A recount will be useless. What we are going to ask for is resumption of the elections and give us an opportunity to make our campaign in safety without being intimidated."

Some election observers from the European Union acknowledged that Rwanda's first presidential election in its 41-year history did have what the observers termed as difficulties. But they say they believe most of the polling took place without incidents or problems.

The campaign leading up to Monday's poll was marred by accusations that Mr. Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front attempted to sabotage Mr. Twagiramungu's efforts to rally support.

Mr. Kagame accused Mr. Twagiramungu of trying to mobilize majority Hutus to vote on ethnic lines, a criminal offense in Rwanda.

Both men have denied any wrongdoing.

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