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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 October, 2003, 19:59 GMT 20:59 UK
Rwandan ruling party wins election
Disabled voter casts his ballot on Monday
Disabled voters elected their MP on Monday
Rwanda's ruling party has won the country's first parliamentary elections since the 1994 genocide.

President Paul Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) party received more than 73% of the vote.

"We declare RPF the winner of this election," commission chairman Chrysologue Karangwa said in a live broadcast on state-owned National Rwanda television.

However, the head of the European Union observer mission told the BBC there had been signs of fraud and irregularities in some areas during the poll.

The turnout in Tuesday's election was more than 99% of the 3.95 million eligible voters, Mr Karangwa said.

RPF: 73%
SDP: 12%
Liberal Party: 10%
Turnout: 99%
EU observer Collette Flesch had earlier said that turnout appeared to have been lower than in last month's presidential poll, when 96% of voters cast their ballots and Mr Kagame received 94% of the vote.

The poll was the first parliamentary election in Rwanda since the genocide in which an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

The Social Democratic Party came second with 12.31% of the votes, and the Liberal Party got 10.56%.

'Rubber stamp'

The party for Progress and Concord (PPC) got less than the 5% threshold of votes necessary for representation in the national assembly.

President Paul Kagame
The vote gives Kagame a strong hand

The government has hailed the peaceful conduct of both polls as proof the country has moved firmly away from the ethnic violence of the past - but critics claimed the vote had been an exercise to legitimise authoritarian rule by the RPF.

The new parliament, they say, will be a rubber stamp for the president.

Both the SDP and the Liberal Party supported Mr Kagame in the presidential election and correspondents say their policies mirror those of the RPF.

The final stage of polling - the election of senators to the upper house and of women's representatives to the lower house - takes place on Thursday.


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