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Rwanda electoral commission urges voters to refrain from election violence
Last Updated: 2017-08-04 07:58 | Xinhua
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National Electoral Commission (NEC) of Rwanda on Thursday urged voters to respect the choices and wishes of the people in the electorate and refrain from engaging in any violence.

Rwandans on Friday will go to the polls that will elect their leader for the next seven years.

There are three presidential contenders, incumbent President Paul Kagame of the ruling party Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR), and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent candidate.

"We are appealing to all Rwandans to respect people's choices, wishes and be tolerant to each other's political views. We do not want to see or hear incidents of violence in electorates resulting in deaths, injuries and destruction to properties," said Kalisa Mbanda, chairperson of NEC.

He said that voters will not be allowed to cast their ballot if dressed in attire that promotes specific candidates or party.

"Voters should respect voting time. Voting starts from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those who will come after the designated time will not vote," he said.

The executive secretary of NEC, Charles Munyaneza, said up to 95 percent of polling materials had been delivered and all were expected to be delivered by Friday morning.

According to him, up to 70 percent of preliminary results will be released before midnight.

Rwandans in the diaspora cast their votes on Thursday except in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, where polling stations were not set over security concerns, Munyaneza said.

The results from diaspora will be announced together with those from the Friday's polls.

Police officers were deployed at all polling centers to ensure security and safety before, during and after the polls, said Inspector General of Police of Rwanda Emmanuel Gasana on Thursday, adding that all were set for smooth and safe elections.

NEC has set up 2,340 polling centers and 16,691 polling rooms across the country which will minimize long queues during the elections.

Over 6.8 million people will participate in this year's presidential elections, up from 5.7 million, who participated in 2010 presidential elections.

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