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Thursday, December 15, 2005

BBC NEWS | Africa | Tanzania awaits outcome of poll

BBC NEWS | Africa | Tanzania awaits outcome of poll Tanzania awaits outcome of poll
Initial results in Tanzania's parliamentary and presidential elections are expected to be announced shortly following Wednesday's poll.

Turnout was high and the only reports of violence came from Zanzibar, where opposition protesters were hurt in clashes with police.

The governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi party is expected to retain its majority.

The election had been delayed for several weeks following the death of a vice-presidential candidate.

Campaigning ended on a dramatic note on Tuesday, when presidential frontrunner Jakaya Kikwete collapsed at a rally.

The ruling party candidate later blamed his collapse on exhaustion. He is expected to win the vote and become the next president.

Ten candidates are in the running to replace Benjamin Mkapa, who is standing down after serving the maximum two terms.

The winner of the presidential vote will not be known for another three days, the National Election Commission said.

Eighteen political parties are contesting parliamentary seats.

'Well but tired'

Long queues formed outside polling stations on Wednesday. Problems reported with names not appearing on registration lists, were not serious and primarily voters being impatient, an election commission official told the BBC.

Earlier in the day, several opposition supporters in the semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago were injured in clashes with police.

The activists claim police opened fire on them as they attempted to prevent bogus voters from casting their ballot.

On Tuesday, Mr Kikwete - the foreign minister in the current government - collapsed during a final speech at a CCM rally near Dar es Salaam.

The BBC's Noel Mwakugu said the politician fell from the podium. Mr Kikwete's wife began screaming and pandemonium broke out.

Amid the confusion, President Mkapa assured the crowd that Mr Kikwete was "well" but tired and wanted water.

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