Zambia opposition rejects incumbent president′s victory | News | DW | 15.08.2016
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Zambia opposition rejects incumbent president's victory

Zambia's incumbent president has claimed victory following a closely contested vote, the country's electoral commission said. But the main opposition party has rejected the result, claiming vote rigging.

Police in Zambia were deployed to quell protests after President Edgar Lungu was declared the winner of last week's closely fought election.

Lungu polled over 1.86 million votes against Hichilema's 1.66 million, according to results released four days after election day. That means Lungu was "duly elected" after defeating his main rival Hakainde Hichilema, Election Commission chief Esau Chulu said.

But the main opposition has cried foul over alleged cheating and vowed to contest the results.

"We have evidence to the effect that the votes for Hakainde Hichilema have been deliberately reduced in collusion with the Electoral Commission of Zambia," the United Party for National Development's lawyer Jack Mwiimbu told journalists. "We have confidence that the constitutional court will rise above board and declare the results a nullity."

In the past, Zambia's record of peaceful transitions of power had been held up as a democratic model in Africa. But this election was marked by a tense campaign marred by street clashes, though voting day was mostly peaceful.

Lungu has ruled since 2015, following the death of President Michael Sata. He won a tight election over rival opposition leader Hichilema last year.

The Carter Center, a human rights organization founded by former US President Jimmy Carter, said the weeks ahead will test Zambia's democratic institutions.

"The country still faces significant challenges as its nascent dispute-resolution processes will surely be tested for the first time," the center said in a statement.

jar/rc (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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