By John Kulekana (AFP) 2 hours ago DAR ES SALAAM Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete was re-elected with 61 percent of the vote, electoral officials said Friday, in a poll marked by low turnout and opposition charges of fraud. The 60-year-old incumbent's closest rival, Wilbrod Slaa, was credited with 26 percent of the vote but snubbed the much-delayed announcement of the results after alleging the ballot was rigged. "I now declare Jakaya Kikwete to have been elected president of the United Republic of Tanzania," National Electoral Commission chairman Lewis Makame said at a ceremony in Dar es Salaam. Makame said only 42 percent of the 20 million registered voters turned out last Sunday for the east African country's fourth multi-party general elections. "The turnout was very low, unacceptably low," said Ibrahim Lipumba of the Civic United Front, who came a distant third with eight percent of the vote. Kikwete, who enjoys a positive image abroad and is credited with steering his country's economy to one of Africa's highest growth rates, had been predicted to take exactly 61 percent in a pre-election opinion poll. While the margin with his challengers remains huge, the results of the October 31 polls mark a slump from the 80 percent he garnered in 2005 and reveal a reinvigorated opposition. Although full legislative results were not yet available, Kikwete's Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party is certain to retain control of parliament but will face a slightly larger opposition than before. CCM so far has at least 187 out of a total of 232 seats for elected lawmakers. Slaa's CHADEMA party made big gains in the main cities, with at least 23 seats, nearly five times its presence in the outgoing parliament. Complete results will only be available after seven constituencies have held a re-run in two weeks' time, Makame said, citing irregularities. Once the re-runs are complete special seats for women will be distributed on a proportional basis and Kikwete will designate a few additional lawmakers. Lipumba's opposition Civic United Front garnered at least 17 seats, down from 19, but 16 out of the 17 are on the Zanzibar archipelago, a traditional CUF stronghold. As Kikwete was declared the winner and his rivals officially conceded, the ceremony in the Tanzanian capital was marked by the absence of Slaa, who had led a feisty campaign for the CHADEMA party. Slaa on Wednesday had demanded the electoral commission stop announcing the presidential results, saying they were riddled with errors, and requested a recount. "The number of votes in our favour differs from those announced by the National Electoral Commission," Slaa said. The electoral body admitted to some mistakes during the tense five-day tallying process but went ahead with Friday's announcement. Several foreign election monitoring groups also reported irregularities in the voting, which was nonetheless conducted peacefully despite a few scuffles during the counting process. Voters in Tanzania's semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago also went to the polls on Sunday to elect a president, lawmakers and local councillors. Electoral authorities there announced the results a day later, declaring the ruling party candidate Ali Mohamed Shein the winner of a tight race with veteran opposition politician Seif Sharif Hamad. Shein was sworn in on Thursday and will work with Hamad as his first vice-president, inaugurating a new power-sharing deal enshrined in a constitutional amendment adopted in July to end perennial election violence. Kikwete will be sworn in on Saturday in Dar es Salaam's Uhuru stadium, which has since independence been the venue for all state events. The vast east African state, which is larger than France and Germany put together, is among the world's poorest nations and its 43 million citizens rely mainly on subsistence agriculture.