Rwanda votes in parliamentary elections

Rwanda votes in parliamentary elections
President Paul Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) is seen as a shoo-in.

KIGALI - Rwandans were voting Monday in parliamentary polls seen as a shoo-in for President Paul Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the party that has held sway over the central African state since ending the genocide 20 years ago.

Voters cast ballots in polling booths that in the capital were draped in the sky blue, green and yellow of the Rwandan flag, with some playing music .

Some six million people are eligible to cast their ballots before polling stations close in mid-afternoon.

Cars with loudspeakers cruised the pristine streets of the capital, neatly lined with palm trees, reminding voters not to forget their ID cards.

At the school where President Paul Kagame cast his vote security was tight, with a sniffer dog on hand to inspect bags and security checks for voters going through a metal-detector gate set up specially for the occasion.

Asked whether he expects the RPF to win by a big margin, Kagame said: "I guess so. I don't see any reason why the RPF should not win with a big margin."

Questioned about accusations of political repression in Rwanda, Kagame retorted: "Is that what you see around you in the voting? You have eyes. Use them to see what is happening and you'll get the answer."

Turnout is likely to be robust despite a low-key campaign and the absence of any serious opposition to the RPF, as local authorities encourage the population to turn out to vote.

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