Kagame had Tuesday urged supporters to await the final tally, but said he did not expect the outcome to change and the apparent margin of his win came as little surprise.
In the last election in 2003, Kagame notched up 95 percent of the vote. A repeat performance was predicted, partly because of the economic growth and stability he has delivered but also because of a crackdown on rivals and critics.
“It’s really a coronation of Mr Kagame. I don’t think we’d call it a genuine election,” said Muzong Kodi, an Africa analyst at the Chatham House think-tank.
“It’s not the manner in which the polling has been organised. The election results are decided months in advance of the polling by the way the opposition was treated, by the way dissent was clamped down on,” he said.
The preliminary results from the National Electoral Commission, broadcast on a screen at an overnight victory rally in a Kigali stadium, showed that in 11 out of 30 districts Kagame had garnered 1,610,422 out of 1,734,671 votes cast.
Supporters of Kagame, who has been in control since his rebel army swept to power and ended the genocide of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994, hailed their hero as fireworks crowned the victory celebration at the stadium.
Surrounded by his family, Kagame danced rigidly in front of a sea of euphoric, flag-waving supporters gathered at the Amahoro Stadium, where thousands of ethnic Tutsis sought refuge during the genocide. Reuters