LUSAKA, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 12th Augst,2016) - Zambians waited Friday for presidential election results that may trigger disputes after a violence-tinged campaign by the two leading candidates in a country usually known for relative stability. Polling day on Thursday was peaceful, after weeks of clashes between rival supporters of President Edgar Lungu's Patriotic Front (PF) and Hakainde Hichilema's United Party for National Development (UPND).
The turnout was high, election officials said, as voters formed long queues to cast their ballots for the national assembly and local councillors as well as the presidency. Lungu, who narrowly won office in a snap election in the southern African country last year, faced another strong challenge from wealthy businessman Hichilema in a field of nine candidates. Fewer than 28,000 votes separated the two candidates in the 2015 ballot.
Early results were expected later Friday, with the complete tally due out by Sunday. Constitutional changes mean that the winner must now secure more than 50 percent of the vote, pointing to a possible second round run-off. "The counting of votes is ongoing in polling stations countrywide," electoral commission director Priscilla Isaac said at a briefing. "The commission wishes to reiterate that all election results appearing on social platforms are unofficial (and) continues to call for calm and peace until the whole process is concluded."