Tanzanian general elections end peacefully

10:02, November 01, 2010      

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Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete waits to vote at a polling station in Bagamoyo, Pwani, Tanzania, on Oct. 31, 2010. Voters in Tanzania started to cast their ballots on Sunday to elect a new president and parliamentary members in the general elections. (Xinhua/Liu Chan)

Tanzania on Sunday held general elections with voters voting orderly and peacefully to elect leaders of their own choice.

The polling stations were closed at 4 p.m. local time (1300 GMT) and Xinhua correspondents witnessed the nearly empty streets in Dar es Salaam which were usually packed with vendors who snaked through the traffic jam at rush hours in the afternoon.

In the morning at the polling station at Msoga village in Bagamoyo district in Pwani region, some 110 km west to Dar es Salaam, 60-year-old Michael James Mkindo told Xinhua that "the election is doing well", expressing the hope to get the leader who will be much concerned with people's problems.

Everything went smoothly, peacefully and quietly, according to the Tanzanian and foreign observers who are from Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), the African Union and the European Union, as well as the Commonwealth.

Kabinga Pande, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Zambia and leader of SADC observer mission, told Xinhua at Msoga that he was quite happy as the SADC leader of observer team, because the voting was so orderly and very peaceful.

For his part, Tanzania's ruling revolutionary party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) union presidential candidate and incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete cast his vote at his hometown at Msoga village, expressing his satisfaction with the voting process of the general elections in the east African nation.

He told Xinhua that "I think it's up to you to judge. You saw how it is. It's so smooth, you present your card, it is verified, you get there, your get a ballot paper, you go and vote, and then your just put the ballot paper into the ballot box. that's it, as simple as that. "

On his confidence to win another five-year presidential term, Kikwete said, "Of course, that's why I came forward to contest, because I am confident to win."

The final result of the general elections are expected to be announced on Nov. 2 or Nov. 3. The number of eligible voters in Sunday's general elections reached about 19.67 million and about 51,380 polling centers were set up, according to the Tanzanian National Electoral Commission.

In Tanzania's Indian Ocean archipelago Zanzibar which has about 400,000 eligible voters, ballots were also cast on Sunday to choose leaders of Government of National Unity in Zanzibar, which is aimed at preventing election-related violence.

Tanzania is considered Africa's most politically stable country, where CCM has been in power for the past 49 years and there have been four successive transfers of power.

The local, legislative and presidential polls on Oct. 31 are the country's fourth since the re-introduction of multi-party politics in 1992 in the east African country with the current population of more than 40 million.

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