Zambia president Edgar Lungu declared winner of election
Opposition United Party for National Development to challenge vote they claim was rigged
Incumbent Zambian president Edward Lungu Zambian of the Patriotic Front: he was re-elected on August 15th in a closely-fought vote that the opposition claimed was rigged. Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images
Hakainde Hichilema: leader of the main Zambian opposition party United Party for National Development. Photograph: Dawood Salim/AFP/Getty Images
Zambia’s president Edgar Lungu has been declared the winner of an election that the main opposition claims was rigged and has vowed to challenge in court.
Mr Lungu (59) secured a five-year term with 50.4 per cent of about 3.7 million valid votes cast, surpassing the 50 per cent mark needed to avoid a run-off, electoral commission chairman Esau Chulu said in the capital Lusaka.
Hakainde Hichilema (54), the president of the United Party for National Development, who had failed to win the presidency on four previous occasions, received 47.6 per cent support.
The ruling Patriotic Front and electoral commission denied the result was manipulated.
Mr Lungu, a lawyer who previously served as defence and justice minister, took office after beating Mr Hichilema by fewer than 28,000 votes in a snap poll in January last year, called when president Michael Sata died in office.
He has pledged to continue a programme to build new roads and universities, diversify the copper-dependent economy and cut energy and farm subsidies to reach a bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund.
Africa’s second biggest copper producer is growing at its slowest pace in 17 years and the currency has plunged, pushing the inflation rate to more than 20 per cent.
The opposition UPND has already begun the process of appealing the results, party lawyer Jack Mwiimbu said.
“We are aware of the various violations of the law,” he said. “There are various cases of rigging. We wish to inform the people of Zambia that they should not despair.”