JOHANNESBURG — President Edgar Lungu of Zambia eked out a victory in last Thursday’s elections, based on official outcomes introduced Monday afternoon. However his principal rival disputed the impartiality of election officers and demanded a recount.
After an unusually violent marketing campaign in a rustic thought-about one among Africa’s most secure democracies, Mr. Lungu garnered 50.35 % of the vote, barely over the edge of votes to keep away from a runoff. The primary opposition candidate, a rich businessman, Hakainde Hichilema, gained forty seven.sixty seven % of the entire.
Fee officers had initially stated that they might launch ultimate outcomes by early Sunday, however the vote tallying had taken longer due to an unexpectedly giant turnout. Mr. Hichilema’s get together, the United Get together for Nationwide Improvement, attributed the delay to Zambia’s electoral fee, accusing it of vote rigging.
In a information convention on Sunday, as incomplete outcomes confirmed he was trailing behind the president, Mr. Hichilema cited irregularities within the rely in Lusaka, the capital, and demanded a recount.
“The query is will the elections be outlined as free and truthful, clear and credible on this setting?” he stated. “My reply is not any.”
Fee officers rejected his accusations.
Mr. Hichilema, who was operating for the presidency for the fifth time, misplaced to Mr. Lungu in 2015 by a slim margin in a particular election to complete the term of President Michael Sata, who died in October 2014.
The candidates’ rivalry — in addition to Zambia’s stagnant financial system — fueled a bitter marketing campaign marred by killings and widespread violence. Final month, the electoral fee ordered the suspension of campaigning for 10 days in Lusaka and one other district after clashes between the 2 fundamental events.
Many election observers stated supporters of the 2 events have been answerable for the violence, they usually criticized Mr. Lungu for utilizing authorities assets, particularly the police, to his benefit.
Screens from the European Union stated that, whereas the voting itself went easily on Election Day, campaigning had been “hindered by a number of elements.”
In an assessment launched on Saturday, the European Union stated that the police had acted in methods to “unfairly block occasions of opposition events at brief discover.” As well as, the state media systematically confirmed a bias in favor of Mr. Lungu and ignored opposition events, or depicted them negatively, thus “limiting the likelihood for voters to make an knowledgeable selection,” the union stated.
In what observers described as one other try to regulate media protection, the tax authorities shut down the nation’s only independent newspaper, The Post, in the course of the marketing campaign.
Zambia, which had skilled clean elections and transfers of energy since 1991, was among the many first nations on the continent the place multiparty democracy emerged. Till final yr, Zambia, Africa’s second-largest producer of copper after the Democratic Republic of Congo, had skilled speedy financial progress because of robust demand from China.
However a slowdown in China and a collapse in copper costs led to a severe economic downturn. Now that elections are over, Zambia is predicted to wrap up discussions with the Worldwide Financial Fund for a bailout.
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