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RWANDA: Supreme Court confirms Kagame winner of presidential elections

NAIROBI, 3 September 2003 (IRIN) - The Supreme Court of Rwanda has confirmed incumbent President Paul Kagame the winner of the 25 August presidential elections in the country's first multiparty contest, the Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported on Wednesday from the capital, Kigali.

"Presidential candidate Paul Kagame was voted President of the Republic ... with 3,544,777 votes, equalling 95.05 percent of total votes cast," Supreme Court Justice Louis Marie Mugyenzi was quoted as saying by RNA. Kagame was followed by his main challenger, Faustin Twagiramungu, with 134,865 votes (3.62 percent) and Jean Nepomuscene Nayinzira, with 49,634 votes (1.33 percent).

On Tuesday, the court dismissed a petition to nullify the polls filed by Twagiramungu, who made allegations of vote rigging, intimidation of his supporters, general violation of the electoral law and pressure on voters to choose Kagame. Twagiramungu also questioned the partiality of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) throughout the elections process.

"The petition is not backed by any evidence to support the accusations. We therefore dismiss this petition," Mugyenzi ruled.

In its ruling, the court said it had asked Twagiramungu to provide evidence to back his accusations before preliminary hearings could start. However, in a reply to the court on Monday, Twagiramungu said he would drop the case, although he asked the court to consider his "protest" before endorsing the election results.

According to RNA, the Supreme Court received no claims other than Twagiramungu's.

The EU observer mission of Rwanda's polls reported that although the election was a "positive step" for Rwanda's democratisation process, it was marred by "numerous election irregularities".

Kagame, 45, is scheduled to take his oath of office on 12 September.

Theme (s): Governance,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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