Lessons of elections

May 3, 1996

Tanzania's elections last year represented real progress towards democracy, but there is still some way to go.

Robert Pinkney, of the University of Northumbria, told the annual conference of the Political Studies Association, held in Glasgow, that there was little ethnic or religious conflict in the elections.

The result was a resounding win for the ruling CCM, previously Tanzania's only party, which won 62 per cent of the votes in the presidential election and 187 out of 232 seats in parliament. Only four of the 12 opposition parties won seats.

Dr Pinkney said that much of the organisation had been chaotic and it was questionable whether the elections could be defined as "free and fair". They had, however, been generally peaceful save for occasional police heavy- handedness.

But he suggested that the lack of conflict might hinder development of a seriously competitive opposition. Opposition parties needed a strong sense of purpose to attempt to uproot a government based on a former monopoly party.

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