Rwan­dan’s vote per­cent­age dis­turbs U.S.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

KI­GALI, Rwanda — The United States said Sat­ur­day that it was “dis­turbed by ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties ob­served dur­ing vot­ing” in Rwanda’s elec­tion, which long­time Pres­i­dent Paul Kagame won with nearly 99 per­cent of the vote.

A State Depart­ment state­ment re­it­er­ated “long-stand­ing con­cerns over the in­tegrity of the vote-tab­u­la­tion process.”

Kagame eas­ily won a third term in what he had called “a for­mal­ity.” For an­other seven years, he will lead the small East African na­tion praised for its eco­nomic per­for­mance but crit­i­cized for its si­lenc­ing of op­po­nents.

Elec­toral au­thor­i­ties said Kagame won 98.6 per­cent of the vote. Nei­ther of his two chal­lengers won a full per­cent­age point.

The U.S. state­ment also said it re­mains “con­cerned by the lack of trans­parency in deter­min­ing the el­i­gi­bil­ity of prospec­tive can­di­dates,” and it com­mended Rwanda’s me­dia for re­port­ing on com­plaints of ha­rass­ment of some op­po­si­tion can­di­dates.

Kagame faced two chal­lengers, while three others were dis­qual­i­fied for re­port­edly fail­ing to ful­fill re­quire­ments in­clud­ing col­lect­ing enough sig­na­tures.

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