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April 24, 2014

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Long-time Ugandan leader gets backing for 2016 run

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 | 2:31 a.m.

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda's ruling party says it has picked the country's long-serving president to be its unopposed candidate for elections in 2016, a decision that eliminates the potential challenge of internal rivals who could threaten the president's nearly 30-year grip on power.

A statement late Tuesday from the ruling party, whose senior officials have been holding a retreat, said President Yoweri Museveni remains the party's "driver" and that "anybody else can wait." Without naming them, the statement slammed Museveni's rivals as a danger to "party cohesion."

Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who also is the ruling party's secretary-general, has emerged as Museveni's strongest rival within the party. Some analysts predict Mbabazi may launch an independent presidential bid if he is ousted from his post as premier.

Museveni has held power since 1986.