Tanzanian President John Magufuli claimed 84 percent of votes cast in Wednesday’s election, to post a resounding victory, which the opposition quickly denounced as fraudulent.
His main challenger, the Chadema party candidate Tundu Lissu, 52, won only 13 % of the vote.
The opposition complained the election was riddled with irregularities such as ballot box stuffing, intimidation and oppression of members.
“The commission declares John Magufuli of CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi) who garnered the majority of votes as the winner in the presidential seat…” said commission chairman Semistocles Kaijage.
Voter turnout was 50.7% from more than 29 million voters, with over 260,000 votes declared invalid.
No final results were given for the parliamentary results.
Magufuli’s ruling CCM had earlier won all but two seats, with around 200 of 264 parliamentary seats announced.
In 2015, Magufuli won with only 58% of the vote.
Lissu, who returned to Tanzania in July after three years abroad recovering from 16 bullet wounds sustained in an assassination attempt, on Thursday declared that the results coming in were “illegitimate”.
He urged his supporters to demonstrate peacefully, while asking the international community not to recognise the outcome.
“Whatever happened yesterday was not an election, and thus we do not recognise it.
“We do not accept the result,” Lissu told reporters, saying opposition election monitors had been barred from entering polling stations and faced other interference.
“What is being presented to the world is a complete fraud. It is not an election.”
The result of presidential elections cannot be contested in Tanzania, though the parliamentary outcome can be challenged.
Several opposition MPs lost seats in long-held bastions, such as Chadema chairman and lawmaker Freeman Mbowe of Hai in the Kilimanjaro region, and ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe in Kigoma on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
Halima Mdee, head of the Chadema woman’s wing, who was briefly arrested on election day after protesting the discovery of ballot boxes stuffed with “pre-marked votes”, lost her seat in Kawe in Dar es Salaam.
“We are concerned by credible reports of election irregularities and the use of force against unarmed civilians, and will hold responsible individuals accountable,” said US state department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on Twitter.
“We urge Tanzanian authorities to take immediate steps to restore faith in the democratic process.”
The election took place with little monitoring from foreign observers and most international media were unable to gain accreditation to cover voting on the mainland.
*Reported by AFP