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Tanzanians Vote In Presidential And Legislative Elections

Voting has ended in Tanzania’s presidential and legislative elections. Voters turned out in large numbers to cast their ballots. About 16 million people were eligible to vote for the presidency and the 232-seat national parliament. Incumbent President Benjamin Mkapa is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term. He is widely expected to be succeeded by the ruling CCM (Chama-Cha-Mapinduzi Party) candidate, Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete.

Dar-es-Salaam based journalist Dinah Chahali told Voice of America reporter Ashenafi Abedje Tanzanians feel good at having participated in what they consider a free and fair election The results of today’s voting are expected to extend the ruling party's 40-year grip on the legislature and presidency. Ms. Chahali says the ruling party’s likely victory doesn’t necessarily indicate majority support for its past or present policies. She says its expected success speaks more to the opposition’s failure to present itself as a viable alternative.

Today’s election was postponed from October 30 following the death of an opposition candidate. It is Tanzania's third since pluralism was restored in 1992 – 31 years after the country gained independence from Britain. Voting around the country was mostly peaceful – with the exception of clashes that took place on Tanzania's semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar. Final results from today’s poll are expected by Friday.