Zambian president re-elected

Zambian president re-elected

LUSAKA – Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa was to be sworn in again yesterday after the opposition Patriotic Front charged that his re-election was the result of massive vote-rigging.

Mwanawasa, who admits having barely dented the country’s deep-rooted poverty in his first five-year term, was to take the oath of office in a lunchtime ceremony at the National Assembly in Lusaka. Confirmation of his victory came on Monday night when the election commission announced the final results from all 150 polling districts.Mwanawasa won with a total of 1 177 846 votes, while Sata garnered 804 748.Hakainde Hichilema, head of a three-party alliance, came in third with 693 772.”I therefore declare that Levy Patrick Mwanawasa be duly elected to the post of the president of the Republic of Zambia,” said Chief Justice Ernest Sakala in an announcement at the main counting centre in downtown Lusaka.Sata refused to accept that Mwanawasa had won the ballot fairly, but said he did not wish to waste time challenging the result through the courts.”I will congratulate him for successfully stealing the vote,” he told reporters.Sata’s supporters rioted on Sunday and Monday as their leader’s defeat became apparent but there have been no fresh reports of violence since then.Last thursday’s elections also voted in a new parliament in which Mwanawasa’s Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) will enjoy a narrow majority.A total of 72 MMD candidates were elected, but as Mwanawasa can directly appoint another eight deputies he should have just enough to steer legislation through parliament without having to rely on independents.The Patriotic Front won 46 seats, while Hichilema’s United Democratic Alliance will have 27 representatives in the 158-seat chamber.Both Sata and Hichilema have voiced unhappiness about the counting process, with the Patriotic Front alleging that some 400 000 ballots had gone missing.But Sata’s campaign manager said yesterday that the party saw no point in pursuing the case through the courts.Nampa-AFPConfirmation of his victory came on Monday night when the election commission announced the final results from all 150 polling districts.Mwanawasa won with a total of 1 177 846 votes, while Sata garnered 804 748.Hakainde Hichilema, head of a three-party alliance, came in third with 693 772.”I therefore declare that Levy Patrick Mwanawasa be duly elected to the post of the president of the Republic of Zambia,” said Chief Justice Ernest Sakala in an announcement at the main counting centre in downtown Lusaka.Sata refused to accept that Mwanawasa had won the ballot fairly, but said he did not wish to waste time challenging the result through the courts.”I will congratulate him for successfully stealing the vote,” he told reporters.Sata’s supporters rioted on Sunday and Monday as their leader’s defeat became apparent but there have been no fresh reports of violence since then.Last thursday’s elections also voted in a new parliament in which Mwanawasa’s Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) will enjoy a narrow majority.A total of 72 MMD candidates were elected, but as Mwanawasa can directly appoint another eight deputies he should have just enough to steer legislation through parliament without having to rely on independents.The Patriotic Front won 46 seats, while Hichilema’s United Democratic Alliance will have 27 representatives in the 158-seat chamber.Both Sata and Hichilema have voiced unhappiness about the counting process, with the Patriotic Front alleging that some 400 000 ballots had gone missing.But Sata’s campaign manager said yesterday that the party saw no point in pursuing the case through the courts.Nampa-AFP

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