Tanzania selects presidential candidates

Presidential nomination process begins

Presidential nomination process begins Tanzania's ruling party, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), is poised to select its presidential candidate ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections on 25 October.

The successful candidate, whose name will be announced following a CCM congress on 12-13 July, is expected to win the top job in October, taking over from outgoing president Jakaya Kikwete who will step down following the end of his second and final five-year term of office.

Kikwete's CCM party dominates Tanzanian politics and a CCM candidate would be expected to win the presidency which is won by simple majority. There are 38 candidates bidding to replace Kikwete who has refrained from identifying a preferred successor of the CCM which has ruled Tanzania since independence in 1964.

During the upcoming congress, senior CCM figures will narrow down the number of candidates to a shortlist of three, from which party members will select their final choice. The CCM party's front-runners for presidential nomination include incumbent premier Mizengo Pinda, who has been in office since 2008; Edward Lowassa, who served as prime minister under Kikwete from 2005 to 2008; and Lowassa's predecessor Frederick Sumaye who was prime minister from 1995 to 2005. Also in the race are vice-president Mohamed Bilal; foreign minister Bernard Membe; and justice minister Asha-Rose Migiro.

The CCM party will also select its candidate to run for president of Tanzania's semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago, with incumbent Ali Mohamed Shein seeking a second and final five-year term.

Four opposition parties with differing ideologies have formed an alliance known as UKAWA and intend to nominate a single candidate. The alliance consists of the traditional opposition Chadema party, whose candidate gained 27 per cent in the last presidential election, the liberal Civic United Front (CUF), the social democratic NCCR–Mageuzi, and the National League for Democracy (NLD).

CUF leader Ibrahim Lipumba is a potential UKAWA candidate, and is expected to make his fifth presidential attempt, having lost out to Benjamin Mkapa in 1995 and 2000, and Kikwete in 2005 and 2010.

Kikwete recently registered in the biometric voter registration system, an ongoing process which has so far registered over 11 million Tanzanians, with a final target of reaching between 21 and 23 million registered voters. The process has been been slow, due to organisational and economic difficulties, and resulted in the government postponing a referendum on reforms to the constitution in April.

However the National Electoral Commission (NEC) promises to complete the registration exercise in time for the October elections.

The are 232 seats in the country’s 323 unicameral parliament, or Bunge, up for grabs in the parliamentary election. There are also 75 seats reserved for women, five for Zanzibar, ten to be appointed by the president and the remaining seat is reserved for the attorney general.

The national electoral body will publish the lists of candidates for the parliamentary and presidential elections on 21 August, and campaigning will run from 22 August until 24 October.

Polls have been relatively peaceful in Tanzania since the restoration of the multi-party system in 1992, and the CCM has won the past four general elections in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. postponing a referendum http://dar-es-salaam.wantedinafrica.com/news/2003777/tanzanian-referendum-postponed.html