KIGALI, Sept. 3 — Rwandans went to the polls on Monday to elect Members of Parliament.
This will be the fourth parliament since Rwanda held its first post-genocide legislative elections in 2003.
Polling stations opened at 7 am Rwandan time with long lines of early voters forming at polling stations. Voting ends at 3 pm.
Rwanda’s elections have generally been peaceful with high turnout of voters. Election observers from the Forum of Parliaments of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region have also predicted a peaceful election this year.
The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and its coalition of six other smaller parties is certain to win most seats, according to analysts.
Many Rwandans credit the RPF for liberating the country, stopping the genocide and responsible for the current economic growth.
The RPF campaigned on a platform highlighting job creation, agriculture transformation, private sector development, urban development, and enhancing economic development among other pledges.
Its main challengers are Opposition Social Democratic Party and Liberal Party (PL).
About 7.1 million Rwandans are expected to take part in the elections at about 2,471 polling stations spread across the country, according to the National Electoral Commission.
The electoral commission executive secretary Charles Munyaneza has said ballot counting will start ‘immediately’ after close of voting at 3 pm local time with partial results to be announced late Monday while preliminary results are expected to be announced on Tuesday.
Rwanda is constitutionally governed on a power-sharing model in which government positions are split between all the main parties with representatives in parliament.
Up to 521 candidates are running this year for 80 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, for a five-year term.