Zambian president re-elected, inauguration date set
www.chinaview.cn 2006-10-03 06:16:31

    LUSAKA, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Zambian incumbent President Levy Mwanawasa has defeated four opposition leaders to win the September 28 presidential election and secure another five-year term, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala announced here on Monday, asking the president-elected to avail himself on Tuesday noon at 1000 GMT for a sworn-in ceremony.

    "I therefore declare that Levy Patrick Mwanawasa be duly elected to the post of the President of the Republic of Zambia," Sakala said after verifying the polls result delivered by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Chairperson Ireen Mambilima.

    According to the final counting result, Mwanawasa garnered 43 percent of the 2,740,178 valid votes cast in the country's 150 constituencies last week, while his arch rival Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF) gained 30 percent, followed by Hakainde Hichilema of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) with 25 percent.

    Meanwhile, the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) has won 70 out of the total 150 lawmaker seats during the parliamentary election on the same day.

    Sata's PF scooped 36 seats, becoming the largest opposition party followed by the newly-founded UDA comprising three opposition parties which garnered 26 seats in combination.

    Mambilima said some 2.8 million people out of nearly four million registered had voted in last Thursday's tripartite elections, which are the fourth since the country resumed multiparty democracy in early 1990's.

    About 400 international observers from other countries and international organizations have joined the 13,000-strong team of local monitors to watch the elections.

    The elections were widely praised by the observation missions as transparent, free and fair and well-organized and conducted in an environment of peace despite minor irregularities here and there.

    Sata, however, alleged that Mwanawasa's ruling MMD had conspired with election officials to rig the polls. He said more than 400,000 ballots had been spoiled or stolen.

    Hichilema of the UDA also charged that last Thursday's races had not been free and fair as the announcement of results has been characterized by unexplained delays that have created room for alleged fiddling with results by some political parties.

    On Monday morning, Sata told a press briefing that he would not seek redress of the election results in court though he insisted the elections being stolen. Meanwhile, he called on his supporter to remain calm and not to resort to physical protests to unleash their grievance.

    His appeals came after riots broke out on Sunday in some compounds in Lusaka where supporters of Sata were reportedly looting shops, burning vehicles and clashing with police.

    "We are not going to do anything to destroy Zambia, and I ask the people to keep calm even if they are angry," Sata said, reversing his earlier threat of dire consequences when he first raised charges of vote rigging.

    ANOTHER FIVE YEARS ON SAME RAIL

    The victory of Mwanawasa will see the southern African country go along the policies that encourage foreign investment and economic diversity set a few years ago.

    Mwanawasa, who came into power in 2002 after beating 10 other contenders narrowly, had achieved a lot as the country has had the vast of its 7.2 billion U.S. dollars foreign debt written off after its attainment of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries completion point in early 2005.

    He promised to pump the money saved from the debt write-off to social sectors such as education and health.

    Average gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the past five years has climbed up to 4.5 percent from a negative rate, thanks to buoyant copper prices on the international market and the inflow of foreign investment to the country's mine industry as well as agriculture and tourism.

    Zambia is one of the world's leading copper producers and copper industry is the country's main foreign exchange earner.

    Inflation has dropped from over 30 percent to single-digit level recently and the country's local currency kwacha has appreciated by over 40 percent at the end of last year against major currencies.

    The opposition however argues that economic gains have not translated into benefits of the majority in the nation where over two thirds of its 11 million people live in poverty. Enditem

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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