Zambians vote for President and Parliament today
A total of 6,698,372 registered voters will be voting today in Zambia to elect a new president, National Assembly and also to vote in a constitutional referendum.
In the referendum voters will be asked “Do you agree to the amendment to the Constitution to enhance the Bill of rights contained in Part III of the Constitution of Zambia and to repeal and replace Article 79 of the Constitution of Zambia?” The government is hoping for a yes vote, but at least 50% of registered voters must have voted for the referendum to be carried.
In the presidential election incumbent president Edgar Lungu and his vice-presidential running mate Inonge Wina are standing on behalf of the left-wing Patriotic Front. Lungu faces eight other candidates the most dangerous of which is Hakainde Hichilema of the centrist United Party for National Development (UPND). The two men faced off in a by-election in February 2015 triggered by the death of President Michael Sata and Lungu won by just 27,757 votes on a 32.36% turnout (in 2011 the turnout was 53.65%).
For the first time the presidential election will have a two-round runoff system. In the first round the winning candidate has to take 50%+ of the vote or a second round runoff will be held between the top two candidates.
In the National Assembly election 150 of the 159 seats are elected by a first past the post system with eight members appointed by the president and the remaining seat belongs to the Speaker.
In 2011 the Patriotic Front (PF) took 60 seats and the centre-left Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) won 55 seats. The United Party for National Development (UPND) took 28 seats. The remaining seats went to small parties or Independents.
Polling stations will be open between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time. The election is expected to be extremely close with possible violent clashes.