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Uganda's general elections kick off

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-02-18 21:45
Uganda's general elections kick off

An election officer verifies a voter's identity during Uganda's general election in Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 18, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

KAMPALA -- Millions of Ugandans on Thursday turned out to vote in an election that will see a new president and legislators.

Polling started at 7:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) in most parts of the country, although in the capital Kampala and neighboring districts, there was a delay for several hours.

The European Union (EU) Chief Observer of the election told reporters earlier that the process in different parts of the country was peaceful.

"So far the process is peaceful, calm, relaxed. There are many people queued in front of polling stations," Eduard Kukan, EU Chief Observer said.

Badru Kiggundu, Chairperson Electoral Commission, told reporters that the delay of voting in some parts of Kampala and neighboring areas was as a result of the slow distribution of voting materials.

He appealed to Ugandans to remain calm during the election process.

Earlier in the day, Social Media was temporarily switched off. Godfrey Mutabazi, Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission, a state owned agency, said social media was switched off for security purposes. He did not give details.

Police Chief Gen. Kale Kayihura on Wednesday said social media was being abused to create tension during the election.

At 4:00 p.m. (1300 GMT) voting closed, but those who were in the queue were allowed to vote. As voting ended, counting started.

At the National Tally Center, results for the presidential candidates are expected to start trickling in.

According to the Electoral Commission, the final result of the election is expected on Saturday.

Over 15.2 million voters, according to the Electoral Commission, are expected to have voted in an election, where Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for the last 30 years will faced off with two main rivals, Kizza Besigye of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change, and Amama Mbabazi, former prime minister.

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