ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Zambia’s election commission on Wednesday postponed the announcement of partial results from a presidential vote after complaints from the opposition, whose supporters clashed with police outside the counting center in the capital, Lusaka.
Officials will resume announcing results on Thursday morning, said Ireen Mambilima, head of the election commission.
Opposition leader and presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema had noted that some polling stations stayed open Wednesday, a day after the election, and that announcing results while voting is still underway would undermine the process. Voting at the sites was extended by a day because of heavy rains that delayed delivery of voting equipment in some parts of the country.
Police at the counting center in Lusaka fired tear gas to disperse some activists from Hichilema’s group, the United Party for National Development, after they camped outside the building.
The election was held to replace President Michael Sata, who died in October after a long illness. The winner will serve out Sata’s term until elections next year.
The main contenders are Hichilema, an economist, and Edgar Lungu of the ruling Patriotic Front party. Lungu, who heads Zambia’s justice and defense ministries, says he wants to complete economic development projects initiated by Sata.
The copper-rich country in southern Africa has been led since Sata’s death by acting President Guy Scott, a white Zambian of Scottish descent who is not a candidate. Scott is not entitled to become president under Zambian law because his parents were not Zambian or of Zambian descent.