Saturday, August 14, 2010

U.S. Government Statement On Presidential Elections In Rwanda

Re-Elected President Paul Kagame

National Security Council Spokeman Mike Hammer Expresses Concern on the National Elections In Rwanda

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
August 13, 2010

We congratulate the people of Rwanda on their national elections on August 9. We note reports from the National Electoral Commission that official results have been tallied and President Paul Kagame won reelections with roughly 93% of the vote.

We remain concerned, howwever, about a series of disturbing events prior to the election, including the suspension of two newspapers, the expulsion of a human rights reseacher, the barring of two oppposition parties from taking part in the election, and the arrest of journalists.

Democracy is about more than holding elections. A democracy reflects the will of the people, where minority voices are heard and respected, where opposition candidates run on the issues without threat or intimidation, where freedom of expression and freedom of the press are protected.

No one should underestimate the enormous challenges born of the genocide in 1994. Rwanda's progress in the face of these challenges has been remarkable, and is a testameent to the people of Rwanda. Rwanda's stabiity and growing prosperity, however, will be difficult to sustain in the absense of broad political debate and open participation.

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