Unofficial early results show close election in Uganda

Unofficial results released by newspapers and radio stations today showed a tight race between incumbent President Yoweri Museveni and his leading challenger, Kizza Besigye, in Uganda’s first multiparty election.

The media outlets were collecting results posted at individual polling stations and conducting their own tally, which could not be independently confirmed.

The Electoral Commission was expected to release preliminary results this afternoon and final results tomorrow afternoon. Voters were also choosing 284 members of parliament.

Ugandans showed up in large numbers yesterday 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.

Four candidates stood against him. Besigye, former comrade-in-arms and physician, posed the greatest threat – even after having to split his time between campaigning and standing trial for treason, rape and other charges he and his supporters maintain were trumped up.

A Besigye spokeswoman, Sara Eperu, said some of Besigye’s representatives had been arrested and claimed the poll had been rigged in sparsely populated areas.

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