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Tanzania Court Says Independent Candidates Can Enter Elections


In a landmark ruling, Tanzania's high court has said that independent political candidates can run for national office.

The ruling by a three-judge panel Friday reversed a constitutional amendment enacted by parliament, which required that political candidates belong to a party.

In its ruling, the court said the amendment placed "unnecessary and unreasonable restrictions on the fundamental rights of citizens."

The court took up the issue in response to a lawsuit filed by a leading opposition leader, Christopher Mtikila.

The ruling comes less than a month after the high court struck down a provision in the electoral code that allowed candidates to hand out food and water to prospective voters [a practice known in Tanzania as "takrima"].

Tanzania held its first multiparty elections in 1995.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.