Zanzibar approves coalition

Stone Town - Zanzibar has opted to enshrine power-sharing in the constitution in a bid to end decades of crippling political feuds, according to referendum results released on Sunday.

Two thirds of the semi-autonomous Tanzanian territory's voters approved the idea of a coalition government being formed after the upcoming October 31 polls, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced.

The "yes" vote, supported by both the ruling CCM and the opposition CUF parties, mustered 66.4% while the "no" vote took 33.4% in the referendum held on Saturday.

Tallying from polling stations on the two islands of Unguja and Pemba lasted through the night and official results were announced at a central results centre set up in a hotel in the capital, Stone Town.

'We've all won'

"With these results, there is no loser and there is no winner. Let us believe that we have all won," ZEC chair Khatib Mwinyichande said.

The referendum will bring an amendment to the constitution to create two deputy president positions to be split between the parties that come first and second in parliamentary polls.

Ministries will be allocated on a proportional basis.

"The peace and stability which prevailed during the referendum should continue," Mwinyichande added.

Zanzibar declared independence on January 12 1964 after a revolution that ended several centuries of rule by Arab sultans.

Three months later, it merged with mainland Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania, but maintained a semi-autonomous government with its own president, constitution, flag and national anthem.

Rivalry between the main CCM and CUF parties has been bitter and often bloody since the re-introduction of multi-party politics in 1992.

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