Zambia`s defence minister Edgar Lungu, of the ruling Patriotic Front, has narrowly won the country`s presidential race, the electoral commission announced Saturday after an election marred by delays. Lungu won 48.33 percent of the vote, beating his rival Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND), who garnered 46.67 percent. Lungu`s victory was greeted with cheers and dancing after the chairwoman of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Ireen Mambilima, announced the results of this week`s vote, which Hichilema has denounced as a sham. Some of the celebrations in the streets of capital Lusaka got out of hand, with police using teargas to disperse excited PF supporters who tried to force their way into the conference centre where the announcement was made.
Neither Lungu nor Hichilema attended the announcement of the results of the race for the year-and-a-half term left when former president Michael Sata died in office last year.
Patriotic Front secretary general Davies Chama applauded Lungu`s victory, saying he had worked hard to win support.
Lungu will be sworn in on Sunday, becoming Zambia`s sixth president since independence from Britain.
The tall, slim former lawyer, who describes himself as an “ordinary Zambian of humble beginnings”, was relatively unknown before Sata died in October.