Election day today
Around 5.2 million Zambians are voting today for a new president, National Assembly and local authorities.
There are ten presidential candidates standing, but in reality the battle is between the incumbent president, Rupiah Banda, of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) and Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF).
Banda has been campaigning on growth and development and has pointed at an economy that grew by 7.6% last year. Sata has campaigned on the need to spread the wealth across the whole nation and not just a few; more than 60% of Zambians live on $2 a day. He has also said that foreigners are asset stripping the country and points to the Chinese and their running of Zambia’s copper mining industry.
Recent polls would suggest that the election will be close with Rupiah Banda slightly ahead, but also with a large enough number of undecided’s to make the poll uncertain.
There are 150 seats up for election in the National Assembly with around 780 candidates contesting the seats. There are also more than 1,000 local authority seats being contested.
Voters will vote at 6,400 polling stations from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time in what will be the sixth multi-party elections since their re-introduction in 1991. The last elections were in 2006 when the MMD took 74 of the 150 seats in the National Assembly and the PF took 44. The third party was an alliance of three smaller parties, the United Democratic Alliance, which took 27 seats.