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New leader of Tanzania appeals for unity as opposition cries foul over vote

President-elect John Magufuli has promised economic growth for the East African nation. The opposition has alleged vote rigging and threatened protests in Zanzibar where results were annulled.

The newly elected president from the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) or Party of the Revolution has made his first speech since being declared winner of last Sunday's vote. President-elect John Magufuli talked economic reform as he appealed for unity and calm.

"I promise to deliver my election pledges, but we need to work together. Let us strive for peace and national unity," Magufuli said in his first speech since being declared the winner by officials.

Official returns Thursday showed the 56-year-old Magufuli had

won Sunday's presidential elections

with more than 58 percent of the vote.

The ruling CCM party had faced its toughest electoral challenge in more than half a century in power after the main opposition parties united behind a single candidate for the first time in Edward Lowassa.

Lowassa, 62, a former prime minister who had defected from the CCM, has

refused to concede the race.

He maintains the opposition's own count based on its representatives at polling stations showed he was the rightful winner.

Re-run in Zanzibar

Tansania Präsidentschaftswahl Seif Sharif Hamad

Zanzibar's opposition presidential candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad, has threatened to call for mass protests over vote.

The decision in Zanzibar to annul results over “irregularities” after the opposition declared victory early has caused concern of instability as the semi-autonomous province has been ordered to rerun elections on the island province.

There have long been wider tensions around Zanzibar's union with mainland Tanzania. Some opposition political parties have advocated independence; it was briefly its own state in 1964.

The opposition Civic United Front (CUF) party had promised to campaign for greater autonomy, while the CCM has vowed to maintain the status quo.

"Democracy, peace and unity in Zanzibar are at stake," international election observers said on Thursday. They include teams from the African Union, the British Commonwealth and the European Union.

Zanzibar's electoral commission said the vote, in which half a milllion registered voters also cast ballots for Tanzania's national president, must be carried out again.

Seif Sharif Hamad from the opposition CUF, had declared himself the winner before the results were officially announced.

Hamad on Friday threatened to call for protests next week if the situation is not resolved by then, and would not then recognize the CCM's incumbent president, Ali Mohamed Shein.

"As from November 2, there will be no government here, Shein will not be the president anymore," Hamad said.

Meanwhile, outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete said Magufuli was the "right person" for the presidency. He added he was "so happy" to be leaving after a decade in power, observing the constitution's two-term limit.

Magufuli is scheduled to be sworn-in as Tanzania's fifth president on November 5.

jar/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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