Zambia's main opposition leader has filed a court challenge following his loss to Edgar Lungu. Accusations of fraud have been levelled at the newly re-elected president.
The party of Hakainde Hichilema (above) formally challenged Lungu on Friday, claiming the August 11 presidential election was rigged.
"We have filed the petition. We are asking for the nullification of the election," said Gilbert Phiri, a lawyer for the United Party for National Development (UPND).
Hichilema, a businessman who has run for president five times, lost 47.63 percent to Lungu's 50.35 percent. He claimed that Lungu's victory wasn't legitimate because his opponent didn't achieve the required number of votes necessary to win the presidency.
According to Zambian law, a candidate must receive 50 percent of all valid votes cast, plus at least one additional vote.
"The first respondent did not receive more than 50 percent of the total votes cast. The voter register was not credible and its non-availability before the elections compromised the transparency of the electoral process," the petition said.
A country divided
The election results have proved controversial in Zambia, which is buckling under a crippled economy and high unemployment. The UPND has blamed Lungo's administration for the problems.
Voting patterns showed that Lungo supporters were mostly congregated in the north and east, while his opponents were mostly in the south. "It's going to be an important issue for Zambia to get over this political and regional divide," Chatham House Zambia analayst Knox Chitiyo told DW.
Because of a new law introduced in Zambia stating that a newly elected president can't be sworn in if the vote has been contested in court, Lungo's inauguration has been postponed.
After the results were announced earlier this week, some supporters of the UPND took to the streets of the capital of Lusaka, targeting houses and cars belonging to Lungo supporters.
blc/se (Reuters, AFP)