RPF-led government

The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has been the ruling political party in Rwanda ever since the genocide ended in 1994. Its current president, Paul Kagame, was also the leader of the rebel organization that defeated the genocidal government. Therefore, many Rwandans appreciate him as the savior of the country. Because the main purpose of RPF has been to restore unity in Rwanda, the government established “The National Unity and Reconciliation Commission” (NURC) in 1999: a national institution aimed at assisting the government in restoring tranquility, erasing the negative consequences of the genocide, combatting discrimination and establishing a feeling of national unity. In 2003, the RPF established a new constitution and, for the first time, held national elections. The consensus amongst Rwandans in favour of Paul Kagame and the RPF seemed great. In 2003, Paul Kagame and the RPF received 95,1 percent of the votes and in 2010, the same party received 93,08 percent. On the one hand, this supposedly successful political transition to democracy has been highly praised by the international community. On the other hand, there has been a lot of criticism on the authoritarianism of the RPF, vocalized mainly by international scholars and NGOs. This criticism is grounded in the idea that there has never been a successful transition to democracy: only a transition from one authoritarian regime into another.

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