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Ruling Party Leads Rwanda Legislative Elections - 2003-10-01

Preliminary results in Rwanda's legislative elections indicate the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, with four allied parties, has taken the lead with more than 75-percent of the votes counted.

TEXT: National Electoral Commission Chairman Chrisologue Karangwa says the Rwandan Patriotic Front and four political parties aligned to it have a strong lead in five out of the country's 12 provinces and 13 out of 15 embassies recording the diaspora vote (the poll of Rwandans living outside the country).

He says, "For those partial results I can confirm that the R-P-F is winning."

He says that in second place is the Social Democratic Party. Mr. Karangwa says he expects to announce final results Wednesday night.

Voters went to the polls to elect 53 members of the country's 80-seat Chamber of Deputies.

Eight political parties and 17 independent candidates are running in these elections, Rwanda's first since the genocide of 1994 in which up to a million Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed by Hutu extremists.