Rwanda: Paul Kagame presidential candidate for the 4th time

Rwanda: Paul Kagame presidential candidate for the 4th time

Rwanda's ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), on Saturday named the country's President Paul Kagame as its candidate for the July 15 presidential election, for a likely fourth seven-year term.

The FPR indicated that it had elected him, without opposition, during a congress which ended on Saturday. Paul Kamage, 66, has ruled Rwanda with an iron fist since the mid-1990s and won the presidency, each time with more than 90% of the vote, in the 2003, 2010 and 2017 elections.

He declared having accepted the appointment, but asking the FPR to prepare the transition after him.

“The burden of responsibility to lead our country can be seen as a shock absorber function, given the challenges we face on a daily basis. This requires a good state of mind”did he declare.

“I accept this burden of responsibility, but appeal to find someone to relieve me of this responsibility”he added.

One of Mr. Kagame's few competitors in the presidential election is the leader of the opposition Green Party, Frank Habineza. A 47-year-old MP, the latter obtained only 0.45% of the votes in the 2017 presidential election. He is placed third by current polls, criticized by rights defense associations for their irregularities and intimidation at the polls. against voters.

Mr Kagame's other possible competitor, Victoire Ingabire, leader of the unregistered Dalfa Umurunzi (Development and Freedom for All) movement, is at this stage excluded from the presidential race due to a previous conviction.

A court decision, scheduled for March 13, will decide whether or not she is authorized to run for president.

Rwanda plans its presidential and legislative elections on July 15, in line with a decision last year by the government to hold the polls on the same date.

Twenty-four women parliamentarians, two youth representatives and one representative of Rwandans suffering from disabilities will also be chosen by colleges and electoral committees on July 16.

Candidates will be able to campaign from June 22 to July 12, according to the electoral commission.

Rwanda presents itself as one of the most stable countries on the African continent, but several human rights groups accuse Mr. Kagame of ruling it in a climate of fear, stifling dissent and freedom of expression.

A former rebel leader, Mr. Kagame became president in April 2000 but has been the country's de facto leader since the end of the 1994 genocide.

He passed controversial constitutional amendments in 2015 which then allowed him to run for new terms and remain in power until 2034.

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