The Latest: US ‘disturbed by irregularities’ in Rwanda vote
KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — The Latest on Rwanda’s presidential election (all times local):
The United States says it is “disturbed by irregularities observed during voting” in Rwanda’s election in which longtime President Paul Kagame won with nearly 99 percent of the vote.
A State Department statement on Saturday also says the U.S. reiterates “long-standing concerns over the integrity of the vote-tabulation process.”
The statement commends Rwanda’s media for reporting on complaints of harassment of some opposition candidates. It also says the U.S. remains “concerned by the lack of transparency in determining the eligibility of prospective candidates.”
Kagame faced two challengers, while three others were disqualified for allegedly failing to fulfil requirements including collecting enough signatures.
Rwanda’s longtime President Paul Kagame has won a third term in office in what he had called “a formality.”
Electoral authorities say Kagame has won more than 98 percent of the vote with 80 percent of the votes counted so far, with no major change expected when final results are announced later Saturday. He had faced two challengers.
Kagame has led the East African nation of 12 million people since the end of its genocide in 1994 in which more than 800,000 people died.
The 59-year-old president has been praised for the country’s economic growth, but human rights groups accuse his government of using state powers to silence opponents. Rwandan authorities deny it.
A constitutional amendment in 2015 allows Kagame to stay in power until 2034 if he pursues it.