7.9.2016

Constitutional Court Dismisses Election Petition

Zambia's constitutional court on 5 September threw out an attempt by the defeated presidential candidate to annul August's election results, clearing the way for president Edgar Lungu's inauguration the following week.
Hakainde Hichilema, who lost the election by 100 000 votes, alleged that the result was rigged, and launched a legal bid to stop Lungu retaining power.
Zambia is known for its relative stability, but the run-up to the vote was marked by clashes between supporters of Lungu's Patriotic Front (PF) and Hichilema's United Party for National Development (UPND).
“There is no petition to be heard before this court,” said judge Annie Sitali, ruling that a 14-day deadline for the legal challenge had expired.
Hichilema had argued for an extension after legal arguments lasted until midnight on 2nd September. He attended court on 5 September, along with hundreds of supporters gathered outside.
The official results put Lungu narrowly ahead on 50,35% against 47,63% for Hichilema among a field of nine candidates – just enough to avoid a second-round run-off.
Lungu (59) will be sworn in on 13 September, the government announced. He first took office last year after beating Hichilema in a snap election, and has since faced falling prices for copper – the country's key export - soaring unemployment and inflation rising to over 20%. (Namibian /Windhoek)

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