Zambia’s president announced poll winner


President Edgar Lungu

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has been re-elected, according to official results, which are being challenged by the main opposition party.

The electoral commission said Mr Lungu had secured 50.35% in Thursday’s vote, just over the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second round under a new electoral system.

His main rival, Hakainde Hichilema, who alleges electoral fraud, won 47.67%.

Earlier, his UPND party withdrew from the ballot verification process.

The UPND has accused the electoral commission of colluding with the governing Patriotic Front (PF) to rig the result.

The PF has rejected the allegations.

Mr Hichilema described the vote as a “coup on the democratic process” in an interview with Radio France Internationale as official results were coming through.

A loud cheer went up from Mr Lungu’s supporters as the victory was announced at the electoral commission headquarters in the capital Lusaka.

Mr Lungu defeated Mr Hichilema in the previous election, last year, by less than 28,000 votes. This time, his margin of victory was about 200,000 votes.

Election officials denied UPND rigging allegations, saying the slow publication of the results was because there were five different votes on Thursday – for president, parliament, mayors, local councillors and an amendment to the constitution on changes to the bill of rights.

Last year’s election was held because President Michael Sata died in office – the second time this has happened in Zambia in less than five years.

The constitution has now been amended so that the vice-president automatically takes office if a sitting president dies. -BBC

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