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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Zambia Extends Presidential Election as Heavy Rain Hampers Vote

Zambia extended presidential elections into a second day as torrential rain left some polling stations unable to open.

Voting will continue on Wednesday when 51 stations will open for the first time, according to the electoral commission. Polls had been due to close at 6 p.m. local time Tuesday. The announcement of final results, scheduled for Jan. 23, may be delayed by “a day or two,” commission official Priscilla Isaac told reporters in Lusaka, the capital.

The campaign to succeed President Michael Sata, who died in October, has highlighted political tensions in Africa’s No. 2 copper producer. The top contenders among 11 candidates are the ruling Patriotic Front’s Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the opposition United Party for National Development. Whoever wins will inherit a slowing economy and a currency that was Africa’s second-worst performer last year.

“It’s still going to be a tight race, but the PF are likely going to win,” Sinethemba Zonke, a Johannesburg-based consultant at africapractice, a risk analysis group, said by phone on Monday. “They are the incumbent party, and also they’ve managed to cement the perception that Lungu was anointed” by Sata.

The kwacha fell 2 percent to 6.56 per dollar, a seven-month low, at 10 p.m. in Lusaka.
Lungu, a 58-year-old lawyer who serves as justice and defense minister, has pledged to continue Sata’s policies aimed at helping the poor, and an infrastructure program centered on building more than 8,000 kilometers (about 5,000 miles) of roads across the nation of 15 million people.
Source: Bloomberg

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