Rwandans overwhelmingly vote ‘Yes’ to amend constitution

President Paul Kagame will announce in the next few weeks if not days whether or not he is running for the third term

President Paul Kagame will announce in the next few weeks if not days whether or not he is running for the third term

Rwanda’s National Electoral Commission ‎has announced the provisional results of the referendum indicating that an overwhelming 98.13% voted in support of the country’s new Constitution, a move that would see incumbent President Paul Kagame extend his stay in power.

Only 1.71% voted ‘No’ to the new constitution in the Friday Polls that recorded a 98.28% turn-up.Rwanda’s National Electoral Commission said that the turn up was good and that the final and conclusive results will be announced very soon.

The voting exercise was conducted in 30 districts across the country where over 6.4 million Rwandans were expected to vote in the poll. While the majority voted for the new constitution, some citizens in capital Kigali and Nyagatare district voted ‘No’ with Kicukiro district having the biggest percent at 4.11% (8000) and Gasabo at 2.03 percent, while others had a percentage average that was below 1 percent.

Rwandans across the country took to celebrations following the voting exercise and the subsequent announcement of the provisional results by National Electoral Commission chairperson Kalisa Mbanda.

“The referendum on the constitution has been successful as willed by the Rwandans. Over 4.4m Rwandans had voted Yes- making the 98.1 percent. More results will be announced” Prof. Mbanda said.

At least 400,000 Rwandans in the diaspora participated in the voting exercise with results from US and Tanzania indicating that 100 voted ’Yes‘ respectively, while Rwandans in China and India had the highest ‘No’ vote at 2.65% percent and 2.36%percent respectively.

Observers from the European Union Delegation to Rwanda and Rwanda Civil Society Platform have since said that referendum was well organized and calm.

This referendum was about whether or not Rwanda’s constitution should be amended to allow President Kagame a third term in office, he has indicated he will reveal to the public his decision on whether or not he intends to run for the third after results of Friday’s referendum are announced.