, ARUSHA, Tanzania, May 25 – Tanzanians will go to the polls on October 25 to elect a new president, the government said Monday, ending speculation of a possible postponement of elections.
“The election date for all who are registered on the electoral roll is 25 October,” National Electoral Commission head and retired judge Damian Lubuva said in a statement.
The lists of candidates for legislative and presidential elections will be published on August 21, and the election campaign will start the following day, ending on the eve of the vote.
The publication of the election timetable puts an end to speculation that President Jakaya Kikwete – who has served the maximum two terms mandated by the constitution – hoped to extend his stay in power.
A separate constitutional referendum due last month has been suspended indefinitely, according to the electoral commission.
Unlike in previous years, there are a host of presidential aspirants within the ruling CCM party that has for years dominated politics in Tanzania. The party is due to select its candidate – who will be in pole position to be elected president – by July.
Current Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda and his predecessor Edward Lowassa are both in the running, as is current deputy finance minister Mwigulu Nchemba.
During a meeting of CCM officials last weekend, Kikwete said the party faced a more difficult task than in previous votes and urged the CCM to choose a candidate able to rally votes beyond the party faithful.
“We must take into account the signs of the times,” Kikwete said.