Voters on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar have voted to allow rival parties to form a coalition government after the upcoming October elections.

Zanzibar election officials said Sunday two-thirds of the voters in Saturday's referendum approved the idea of a unity government.

The power-sharing proposal was supported by the ruling CCM party and leaders of the main opposition party, CUF, and was designed to end years of political strife that had marred previous elections.

Under the new referendum vote, two vice presidential positions will be split between the leading parties in parliamentary elections.

Ministries will be allocated on a proportional basis.

Officials said Saturday's voting proceeded peacefully.

Zanzibar gained independence from Britain in 1963, then united with Tanganyika the following year to form what became the republic of Tanzania.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.