John Pombe Magufuli has won Tanzania’s presidential election with 58% of the vote, the electoral commission says.
His main rival, opposition Ukawa coalition candidate Edward Lowassa has rejected the official results that gave him 40% of the ballots cast.
Edward Lowassa earlier claimed he had won with 62% of the vote.
The elections on October 25 were the most fierce John Magufuli’s governing CCM party faced after 54 years in power.
In Zanzibar, elections for the semi-autonomous archipelago’s parliament and president were annulled on October 28.
Zanzibar’s election chief Jecha Salum Jecha said the poll had been marred by gross irregularities, including rigging and physical fights between rival election commissioners.
CCM supporters have been celebrating John Magufuli’s victory outside the party’s headquarters in Tanzania’s main city, Dar es Salaam.
Incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete, who is standing down after two terms in office, retweeted a CCM photo of John Magufuli and the accompanying words: “Our next Commander-in-Chief, Dr. John Pombe Magufuli, the President-elect of The United Republic of Tanzania.”
EU observers said that the elections were “generally well organized” but “with insufficient efforts at transparency from the election administrations”.
Teams from the African Union and southern African regional body SADC said that the vote had largely been “free and fair”, despite all groups raising concerns over the subsequent annulment of Zanzibar’s local elections.
Tanzanians are expected to polls in the country’s most tightly contested general elections, as a new opposition coalition tries to end the governing party’s 54-year grip on power.
There has been a high turnout at voting stations, reports say.
Opinion polls have put the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party ahead, but the result is expected to be close.
Four opposition groups are backing one candidate, a former prime minister, in the presidential race.
Some of the major issues for the almost 23 million registered voters include access to clean water, improved health care and better education.
President Jakaya Kikwete, who is standing down after two terms, has called for peace ahead of the election, adding that “anyone who tries to cause trouble will be dealt with”.
The CCM was formed in 1977 from a merger of two post-colonial parties and has effectively been in power since independence in 1961.
Tanzania’s works minister, John Magufuli, 55, has promised change and to improve on the pace of progress laid down by the previous CCM government.
John Magufuli has promised to end the country’s power shortages and exploit Tanzania’s natural gas discoveries.
“My government will put emphasis on fighting corruption, job creation and industrialization,” he said on October 24.
John Magufuli is nicknamed The Bulldozer for driving a program to build roads across Tanzania.
Ukawa coalition’s candidate Edward Lowassa, 62, decided to leave the CCM when it did not pick him as its presidential candidate earlier this year. Four opposition parties rallied behind Edward Lowassa as a coalition candidate.
“We must stop being a nation of beggars,” he told a rally on October 24.
“It is a shame for Tanzania to still be poor after 54 years of independence.”
Edward Lowassa has already served as prime minister, but had to resign over a corruption scandal in the energy sector. He continues to deny involvement in the scandal.