Zambia’s ruling party candidate Edgar Lungu on Thursday edged ahead in the race to replace the late president Michael Sata, authorities said as voting continued in parts of the country. According to the Electoral Commission of Zambia, ballots from 90 of the 150 constituencies had been counted by Thursday afternoon. Lungu, the ruling Patriotic Front’s candidate, was leading with 590,252 votes, closely followed by opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development with 524,976. Nevers Mumba of the former ruling party Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) was meanwhile trailing a distant third with 8,831 ballots. Final results were expected to be released on Friday.
“We hope that the final results would be out by tomorrow or early hours of the following day,” electoral commission chairwoman Ireen Mambilima said. She said no discrepancies had been reported since counting began.
Voting was continuing at some 12 polling stations across the country after heavy rain disrupted the Tuesday election, forcing an extension.
Authorities said they had faced “unprecedented challenges” in delivering voting material to some remote areas in the copper-rich southern African nation. Boats and ox-wagons had be deployed to get ballot papers to parts hit by torrential rains.