World Bulletin/News Desk
Tanzania will hold a referendum on a new constitution, possibly after the electoral register is updated in May, the president said on Wednesday, following an opposition boycott of the drafting of the document and threats of protests against it.
An assembly dominated by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party and its allies approved the draft on Oct. 2, against the wishes of main opposition groups. They had walked out of the drafting body, saying the CCM was ignoring their suggestions.
"The draft constitution was passed by two-thirds majority from both sides of the union," President Jakaya Kikwete said, referring to the union of mainland Tanzania and the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar.
"We are now left with the final journey of holding a public referendum on the constitution," he said in a speech in the capital, Dodoma, where he and the president of Zanzibar, Ali Mohammed Shein, where handed copies of the draft.
Kikwete said the referendum would probably be held after the electoral register was updated in May but did not rule out a vote before that. He said the precise date would be announced after consultations with Tanzania's and Zanzibar's electoral commissions.
Presidential and parliamentary elections are due to be held next year, usually taking place in October. The new constitution is expected to be in place before that vote. Kikwete cannot run again after serving two terms as president.
The new constitution would replace one passed in 1977 when Tanzania was under one-party rule.
Opposition parties and civil society groups wanted a raft of political reforms and say the version passed is too limited and does not establish the federal system that many wanted.
In April, the three main opposition parties boycotted the Constituent Assembly set up in March to draft the charter, saying the CCM had hijacked the process.
CCM and its allies said the assembly still had a quorum to pass the draft after their opponents withdrew.Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Ekim 2014, 23:24