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Tanzania ruling party expects comfortable poll win

WORLD
By | November 3rd 2010

By Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

DAR ES SALAAM, Nov 2 (Reuters)

Tanzania's ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party said on Tuesday it expected to be the victor in last Sunday's presidential and parliamentary elections while foreign observers expressed concern about the vote count.

CCM campaign manager Abdulrahman Kinana said the party of incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete, who is seeking a second and final term, was projected to lose 51 assembly seats but retain an overall majority.

"We acknowledge that the National Electoral Commission has the mandate to announce election results, but we can confirm that CCM are on course to comfortably winning the presidential and parliamentary elections," he told reporters in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

Results from the 239 constituencies in east Africa's second largest economy have been trickling in more slowly than expected, leading to a second day of clashes between opposition supporters and riot police in some parts of the country.

Early confirmed figures gave Kikwete the advantage and some political analysts expected the final margin of victory to be tight.

"We are concerned by any delays in the announcement of the results as this creates both uncertainty and suspicion among the electorate and we have concerns about the transparency of the aggregation process," said chief European Union observer David Martin.

Final presidential results are due out by Friday at the latest, the National Electoral Commission said.

Security forces used teargas and water cannon against protesters angry at the delay in some results and the credibility of others in Dar es Salaam, Kigoma and Karagwe.

OPPOSITION STRONGHOLDS

In the Segerea district of Dar es Salaam, the main opposition Chadema party accused electoral authorities of deliberately delaying the results and cited other cases of malpractice where the opposition had strong support.

"It seems perhaps some constituencies are being deliberately targeted. It is possible the CCM is afraid of losing Dar es Salaam to the opposition," Mwesiga Baregu, Chadema's campaign manager, told Reuters.

Trading on Tanzania's foreign exchange market was subdued on Tuesday, traders said, with the shilling stable against the dollar.

"The market is waiting for the appreciation of the shilling once the new government comes in," said Christopher Makombe, head of foreign exchange trading at Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania.

Confirmed results from 53 of the 239 constituencies showed the CCM had 33 seats in the assembly but several high-profile ruling party candidates, including four cabinet ministers, were voted out.

Chadema, whose presidential candidate Willibrod Slaa campaigned hard on an anti-corruption platform, appeared to be making the most gains.

The EU observer group praised the peaceful conduct of the ballots but said the trappings of office had given Kikwete greater campaign visibility than his opponents.

Earlier, the defeated candidate in the presidential contest on Tanzania's semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar said the vote was unfair but accepted a position in a coalition government to avoid the bloodshed that has marred the last two ballots.

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