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Uganda holds peaceful vote

Associated Press
Published February 24, 2006

SOROTI, Uganda - Ugandans showed up in large numbers Thursday to vote in the country's first multiparty elections in more than 25 years, a vote widely seen as a referendum on President Yoweri Museveni's 20-year rule.

Critics say Museveni's government has become increasingly authoritarian. Soon after polls closed, Museveni's opposition complained of vote rigging.

Museveni was ahead in opinion polls before the election but seemed unlikely to get more than 50 percent of the vote and avoid a runoff. Supporters of the 62-year-old president changed the constitution in July so he could run for a third term.

Four candidates stood against him. His former comrade-in-arms and physician, Kizza Besigye, posed the greatest threat - even though he is on trial on treason, rape and other charges he and his supporters maintain were trumped up to hurt him in the election.

Electoral officials reported orderly voting and high turnout. They said the main problems concerned missing voter names on the register. There was no significant violence, police spokesman Assuman Mugenyi said.

The country's choices for president and 284 members of parliament will be announced by late Saturday, according to Ugandan law.

[Last modified February 24, 2006, 01:41:24]

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