Zanzibar opposition says it will sit in parliament, despite presidential poll "fraud"

The main opposition party in Tanzania's semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar said on Saturday that its 19 candidates who won seats in parliamentary elections on 30 October would attend legislative sessions but the party would not cooperate with Zanzibar's newly re-elected president, Amani Abeid Karume.

In a statement released in Dar es Salaam after the party's general council meeting on Saturday, the Civic United Front (CUF) reiterated that the island's 30 October presidential polls were characterised by intimidation and fraud.

"Under such circumstances, the council does not accept the results. It does not recognise Karume as having been legitimately re-elected and it will not recognise the government that he is going to form next week," CUF said.

It called for an international investigation into the alleged fraud, and bias by the Zanzibar Electoral Commission.

CUF said that due to intimidation and mismanagement within the commission, some 47,000 people were blocked from voting; electoral officials also failed to disclose all names on voter registration lists, CUF said.

However, poll observers generally hailed the conduct of the election although some pointed to irregularities. They, too, have called for an investigation. The electoral commission declared that Karume won 53.2 percent of the presidential vote while CUF's candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad, garnered 46.1 percent.

CUF said it was seeking to challenge the results through legal channels within Tanzanian and abroad. It told its supporters to desist from violence.

During Saturday's meeting, two local television cameramen were attacked outside the party's headquarters by people believed to be CUF supporters. CUF Chairman Ibrahim Lipumba apologised for the incident.

CUF also called on its supporters to participate in nationwide elections set to take place on 14 December.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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