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Rwandan campaign troubles London

Aug. 13, 2010 at 11:10 AM

LONDON, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Presidential elections in Rwanda are a sign of peaceful reconciliation, though political restrictions during the campaign are a top concern, London said.

Voters turned out in record numbers Monday to cast their ballots. Paul Kagame, seeking his second term as Rwandan president, ran against three other candidates who were closely aligned with his ruling platform.

The Rwanda National Election Commission confirmed Wednesday that Kagame won his bid for a second term in office with 93 percent of the vote.

Henry Bellingham, a minister with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said the peaceful election was a sign Rwanda has moved past the legacy of the 1994 genocide.

"Rwanda has made huge strides since 1994 and these elections represent another important stage in the country's development," he said.

Allegations that Kagame was stifling the opposition, however, was a top concern for the British government, he said.

Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, a member of the opposition Democratic Green Party in Rwanda, was found dead in July with his head nearly cut off. The opposition party said it was unsuccessful in registering its candidates for the presidential election.

The BBC reported last week that its investigations into political assassinations during the run-up to the presidential election suggested Kagame ordered the slaying of his opponents. The government in Kigali denied the allegations.

Bellingham said he has raised his concerns with the Rwandan government.

"We await the report and findings of the Commonwealth mission which observed the elections," he said.

Topics: Paul Kagame
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