Zanzibar opposition claims victory in tense Tanzania poll
A man casts his ballot at a polling station during the
presidential and parliamentary election in Ilala polling station, Dar es
Salaam, Tanzania, October 25, 2015. Image by: Times
Seif Sharif Hamad from the opposition Civic United Front (CUF), the
vice-president in the previous unity government, told reporters he had
won Sunday's polls, claiming to have seen official documents of final
There has been no announcement from the Zanzibar
Electoral Commission and the figures given by Seif could not be
verified, but the declaration is likely to raise tensions on the
Following Hamad's unilateral declaration of victory, CUF
supporters charged through the narrow streets of historic Stone Town
celebrating and chanting slogans.
Hamad, 71, making his fifth bid
for the islands' top job, went head-to-head with incumbent president Ali
Mohamed Shein of the long-ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party.
"There is no question... the ruling party has been defeated for the first time since 1977," Seif told reporters.
"I have won by 52.87 percent, against the incumbent president Dr Ali Mohamed Shein's 47.13 percent," he said.
has experienced sectarian and political tensions in recent years --
including several grenade explosions -- with the unrest affecting the
islands' key tourist industry.
There have also been wider tensions
around Zanzibar's union with the mainland, with some opposition
political parties wanting to break ties and return to the independence
it briefly enjoyed in early 1964 before merging with Tanganyika.
The CUF promised to campaign for full autonomy if it wins, while the CCM has vowed to maintain the status quo.
call on the President of United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete,
to facilitate a smooth transition and not to allow Zanzibar to descend
into chaos," Hamad said.
In mainland Tanzania, votes are being
counted following Sunday's presidential, general and local elections.
Zanzibaris also voted for the national president.
In that race,
John Magufuli of CCM is seen as the narrow favourite to beat ex-prime
minister Edward Lowassa, a CCM stalwart who recently defected to the
opposition Chadema party.