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Early reports show Tanzanian poll tight

By the CNN Wire Staff
Election officials collect ballot boxes at a tallying center in Dar Es Salaam on November 1.
Election officials collect ballot boxes at a tallying center in Dar Es Salaam on November 1.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tanzania has enjoyed relative stability despite turmoil in neighboring countries
  • Voters went to the polls no Sunday, with the incumbent president seeking re-election
  • Early results show three parties in a close race, with final results expected by mid-week

(CNN) -- Partial election results Monday indicated a close race between Tanzania's ruling party and two challenging parties as the president of the relatively peaceful east African nation sought a second term.

President Jakaya Kikwete of the ruling party CCM, or Chama Cha Mapinduzi, won by a landslide 80 percent in 2005, but was facing some of the strongest opposition since the nation took on multiparty politics in the 1990s.

After Sunday's balloting, the CCM and the challenging Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Party for Democracy and Progress - Chadema), and Civic United Front (CUF) parties each claimed victory in the presidential, parliamentary and local races.

Vote counting was still going on Monday, with final results of the general election expected to be announced on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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 National Electoral Commission.

Kikwete has pledged to improve education facilities and cut down on poverty in the nation. A majority of Tanzanians live below the poverty line, the International Monetary Fund says.

He also pledged to build more health facilities and transportation infrastructure, including roads and railways.

But his critics say the former foreign minister has not kept the promises he made when he was elected the first time, including fighting corruption.

The incumbent's main opposition, Willibrod Slaa of the Chadema party, vowed during the campaign to tackle graft and improve health and education services if elected.

Tanzania has enjoyed relative stability despite political turmoil in neighboring countries, including Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The local, legislative and presidential polls on Sunday are the country's fourth since the re-introduction of multi-party politics in 1992 in east Africa's second largest economy, with a population of 44 million.

Voters on Zanzibar island, which enjoys autonomy from Tanzania, also went to the polls Sunday.

Journalist Mwondoshah Mfanga contributed to this report.