Lungu declared Zambia's president-elect, after tight poll

Lungu declared Zambia's president-elect, after tight poll

Saturday, January 24, 2015 10:31 pm

Edgar Lungu:  declared Zambia's president-elect

Edgar Lungu: declared Zambia’s president-elect

Defence Minister Edgar Lungu of Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front has won the country’s presidential election in a tightly fought race marred by delays, the electoral commission announced Saturday.

Lungu won with a slim 48.33 percent majority, closely followed by his rival Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND) with 46.67 percent of the vote.

Lungu’s victory was greeted with cheers and dancing after the chairwoman of the Electoral Commission of Zambia Ireen Mambilima, announced the results of the Tuesday vote which Hichilema had earlier denounced as a sham.

“The final results from 150 constituencies are as follows, Lungu Edgar, 807,925, representing 48.33 percent, Hichilema Hakainde 780,168, representing 46.67 percent…,” she said.

The opposition candidate, Hichilema denounced the election as a sham and accused rival Edgar Lungu of stealing the vote.

“This election has been a sham and does not reflect the will of the people,” said Hichilema, leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND).

“If Edgar is sworn in he should know that he is an illegitimate president,” he told journalists.

Hichilema, a self-made businessman on his fourth run at the presidency, said the election had not been fair from the start, and decried violence directed at his supporters ahead of the vote.

“We have experienced widespread violence against our supporters and party members throughout the campaign, as well as deep irregularities in the counting process.”

He urged his backers to remain calm “for the sake of Zambia,” and vowed his party would emerge stronger ahead of general elections in 2016.

The vote in Africa’s second biggest copper producing nation was held to replace president Michael Sata, who died in office in October.

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