Tanzania ruling party heading for victory in tight election

2015-10-28 14:59

Dar es Salaam - Tanzania's ruling party's presidential candidate appears set to win one of the east African country's tightest elections, according to preliminary results announced on Wednesday.

John Magufuli from the long-ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) had nearly 59% of the votes that had been counted in 143 out of a total of 264 constituencies in Sunday's election, the electoral commission said.

Opposition candidate Edward Lowassa had nearly 40 per cent. The final results were expected by Thursday.

Five candidates who had been ministers in the outgoing government lost their seats in parliament. They included Agriculture Minister Stephen Wasira, a prominent CCM politician.

Wasira was defeated by Ester Bulaya, a young female candidate from Lowassa's Chadema party, which heads a four-party opposition coalition.

The CCM has dominated Tanzanian politics since independence in 1961. Sunday's elections were seen as the first time the opposition could win since a multi-party system was introduced in 1995.

Lowassa defected to the opposition in September after the CCM rejected his bid to succeed President Jakaya Kikwete, who was no longer allowed to run for office after serving two five-year terms.

Lowassa is seen as a candidate of the young urban middle class. Public works minister Magufuli campaigned on an anti-corruption drive in a stab at Lowassa, who was forced to resign as prime minister in 2008 after being implicated in a corruption scandal.

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