Zanzibar’s President Re-Elected in Vote Opposition Boycotted

  • Archipelago's leader extends five-year rule after new vote
  • Authorities invalidated results of October's initial polls

Zanzibar’s ruling party candidate was re-elected president of the semi-autonomous Tanzanian archipelago in a rerun boycotted by the main opposition party.

President Ali Mohamed Shein, who’s already governed for five years for the Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, won 91.4 percent of ballots, electoral commission Chairman Jecha Salim Jecha told reporters Monday in Zanzibar town, the capital. Hamad Rashid Mohammed of the Alliance for Democratic Change came second with 3 percent.

Authorities invalidated the results of the initial Oct. 25 election on the Indian Ocean island nation, citing violations of electoral law. The opposition Civic United Front declared its candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad, the winner of those polls before official results were confirmed.

The CUF didn’t take part in Sunday’s vote although Hamad’s name was still on ballot papers. He received 1.9 percent of the vote, according to Jecha. About 68 percent of Zanzibar’s 503,580 registered voters entered a polling booth, he said.

Popular with tourists for its sandy beaches and tropical climate, Zanzibar has seen “contentious and occasionally violent” elections, according to the Washington-based National Democratic Institute. October’s annulment spurred protests dispersed by police.

‘Political Impasse’

Diplomatic missions from European countries and the U.S. said Monday they regretted the Zanzibar electoral commission’s decision to hold a rerun “without a mutually acceptable and negotiated solution to the current political impasse.”

They urged Tanzania’s government “to exercise leadership in Zanzibar, and to pursue a negotiated solution between parties,” according to a statement on the website of the European Union’s delegation to the East African country.

Voting across Tanzania in October brought to power President John Magufuli, who’s declared war on corruption and government waste in the continent’s third-biggest gold producer.

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