PRE­PAR­ING FOR THE VOTE

Los Angeles Times - - NEWS -

An of­fi­cial ad­justs bunt­ing in the colors of the Rwan­dan flag at a polling sta­tion in Ki­gali, the cap­i­tal, on Thurs­day, the eve of the coun­try’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Long­time leader Paul Kagame is widely ex­pected to win. He won the 2010 elec­tion with 93% of the vote and has al­ready claimed vic­tory in Friday’s vote, telling a rally in July that “the day of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions will just be a for­mal­ity.” A con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment af­ter a ref­er­en­dum in 2015 al­lows him to stay in power un­til 2034 if he pur­sues it. Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have been barred from putting cam­paign posters in most pub­lic places. The elec­toral com­mis­sion has vet­ted can­di­dates’ cam­paign mes­sages, warn­ing that their so­cial me­dia ac­counts could be blocked oth­er­wise. Kagame, 59, has been de facto leader or pres­i­dent of the na­tion of 12 mil­lion peo­ple since his rebels ended its 1994 geno­cide. Al­though he re­mains pop­u­lar for pre­sid­ing over eco­nomic growth, he in­spires fear among some Rwan­dans who say he uses the pow­ers of the state to re­move per­ceived op­po­nents.

Marco Lon­gari AFP/Getty Images

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