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Elections in Zambia 2015

20th January 2015 will see Zambia elect its next President. Zambia is headed by Guy Scott, as its acting President, ever since the untimely death of its elected President Michael Sata, on 28 October 2014. Guy Scott earlier served as Vice President under Michael Sata.
Election History
The Republic of Zambia (formerly known as Northern Rhodesia) became independent in 1964. Initially, there were three parties that started the democratic process led by the United National Independence Party (UNIP) which won the pre-independence elections with 55 out of 75 seats going its way, followed by the Zambian African National Congress, which won 10 seats and the National Progressive Party that gained 10 seats, which were reserved for Whites.

Kenneth Kaunda was elected its first Prime Minister and was to soon become its first President, as the country chose to follow a presidential system. In 1968 he was re-elected as President and soon he banned all political parties and introduced a one-party system. Thus, UNIP continued to govern Zambia with Kenneth Kaunda as its President. The one-party system meant that Kenneth Kaunda, as party leader of UNIP, was the only one who could stand for elections with a simple Yes/No vote. He thus got elected as President in 1973, 1978, 1983 and 1988.

Protests against one-party rule and a failing economy forced Kenneth Kaunda to re-introduce multi-party system by 1991. In the subsequent election, Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) led by former trade union leader Frederick Chiluba, received 76 percent of the votes, winning 125 of the 150 seats. UNIP fared poorly winning the remaining 25 seats.

Through most of the 90s and the millennium decade, Zambia faced political instability, military coups and economic uncertainty.

Election system
Elections in Zambia follow the Parliamentary Electoral system which allows for direct universal adult franchise first-past-the-post constituency elections.

For Presidential elections, the President is elected by plurality through universal adult franchise.

Concurrent Parliamentary and Presidential elections are conducted every five years under the supervision of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

There are 150 constituencies in total.

Election process
All registered voters are issued a Green National Registration Card and have to present that at the time of voting. All candidates standing for Parliamentary elections have to be over 25 years and endorsed by at least nine registered voters. For Presidential elections, the candidates must be over 35 years and endorsed by at least 200 registered voters.

The Presiding officer at each polling station declares provisional results to all present and transmits them to the ECZ, which then collates results from all polling stations before making the final announcement of results. The entire poll process is covered under the Election Code of Conduct and monitored by neutral observers and monitors, accredited with the Election Commission of Zambia.

Political parties
The Presidential election is going to be a fight between the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), the main opposition party Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) and the United Party for National Development (UPND).

Presidential Candidates
Justice and Defence Minister from the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), Edward Lungu is the Presidential candidate who made the cut after a contentious legal battle.

The MMD has put up former televangelist, Nevers Mumba, to stand for President. He too has had to fight former President and party head, Rupiah Banda from his party, who queered the pitch by endorsing opposition PF’s candidate, Edward Lungu for President.

The UPND has put up Hakainde Hichilema for the Presidential race, who is among eight others representing smaller parties.

In the 2011 elections, PF held 42 percent of the votes, followed by MMD with 36 percent and UPND ending with 18 percent votes.

Patriotic Front continues to remain the favorite in this election, as well.

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