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Incumbent favoured in Zambian election
Cat : Sustainable development
Date : 2006-10-02 18:30:49                      Reader : 295
results away from violence or force.


Sustainable development

Google News 2/10/2006

Incumbent favoured in Zambian election


Lusaka - A final round of vote-counting was underway in Zambia early Monday in general elections where the outcome is widely expected to favour incumbent President Levy Mwanawasa and his ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) was expected to pronounce the outcome of the poll in the capital Lusaka at a briefing scheduled for 10 a.m. local time (0800GMT) Monday.

But the latest available preliminary results released Sunday showed Mwanawasa leading the presidential race with nearly a million votes - 952,650 against the 641,109 votes of his nearest rival, opposition United Democratic Alliance leader Hakainde Hichilema.

Controversial opposition Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata, who had been widely billed as Mwanawasa's strongest challenger in pre-election polls and early vote tallying, meanwhile, came in third with 615,429 votes.

The results were taken from 120 constituencies of the country's 150 constituencies, with 28 remaining and two constituencies deferred to later date, according to officials from the ECZ.

The slow pace of determining the outcome of last Thursday's poll has caused tension and some violence in the capital Lusaka where rioting PF supporters had to be subdued by armed police using teargas on Sunday. Sata warned Saturday of 'consequences' if his complaint about what he believed were hundreds of thousands of missing votes was not addressed.

Mwanawasa and his party rejected his allegations of possible vote rigging and called for calm.

Local and international election observers, including teams from the European Union and the Commonwealth, have declared the poll transparent, free and fair, well run and indicative of the country's political maturity, siting an absence of manipulation and fraud that have characterised previous polls.

Most of the 3.9 million registered voters are believed to have cast their ballots Thursday and, in some districts, a day later due to logistical problems.

Elections have centred around the economic successes of Mwanawasa and the MMD, which has been in power since the advent of multiparty democracy in 1991.

Opposition parties and candidates highlighted concerns over the issue of persistent poverty, unemployment, poor public services and the exploitation of workers by foreign investors in the landlocked former British colony of about 11 million people.

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