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Archive for Sunday, July 31, 2005

Voters favor return to multiparty politics

July 31, 2005

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— Ugandans voted overwhelmingly in support of their country's return to a multiparty system, which was banned for 19 years by a president who argued that he needed to keep tribal divisions in check.

According to final results announced Saturday by the Electoral Commission chairman, 92.5 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of allowing multiparty politics after nearly two decades of President Yoweri Museveni's so-called "no-party democracy" in the East African nation.

About 47 percent of Uganda's 8.5 million registered voters participated in the referendum Thursday, said the chairman, Badru Kiggundu. No minimum turnout was required to make the referendum valid.

Museveni had argued in the past that the no-party system was the antidote to tribal divisions that led to years of civil strife in Uganda. This year, he changed positions and campaigned for the "yes" vote.

Opposition groups had asked voters to boycott the $12 million referendum, insisting it was a waste of money and the reforms should be instituted without a vote.

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