KIGALI, Rwanda — Vice President Paul Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front nominated him for the presidency Saturday, clearing his way to become Rwanda's first Tutsi leader since independence in 1962.
After a one-day closed meeting, the Tutsi-dominated RPF announced that it will put Kagame and the party's secretary-general, Charles Muligande, before parliament on April 14-20 for a final vote on a successor to Pasteur Bizimungu, who resigned March 23.
The RPF, which stopped Rwanda's 1994 genocide and remains the strongest force in the central African country, is guaranteed Rwanda's presidency and vice presidency under a power-sharing agreement.
While the party is going through the formality of giving parliament two candidates from which to choose, Kagame is widely expected to win.
Kagame, who is also minister of defense and the top army commander, led the former rebels to victory in July 1994 against an extremist Hutu government that ordered the 100-day massacre of more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus.
Kagame became interim president after Bizimungu's resignation.
Rwanda is governed under a 1993 power-sharing agreement with the RPF, the former Hutu government and other, smaller political parties, which are allocated seats in the Cabinet and parliament.
Since winning power, Kagame has been reluctant to assume the country's top job, apparently for fear of antagonizing the country's majority Hutu population and confirming the perception that Rwanda is ruled by minority Tutsis.
Bizimungu launched a stinging attack on parliament when he resigned, saying it had been partisan in its corruption investigations and had ignored powerful Tutsi politicians.