Zambia election recount : Party filing court documents

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Zambia’s losing presidential hopeful Michael Sata has called for a recount of the results after losing to Rupiah Banda who has since been sworn in as president.

Media reports coming from Lusaka say Sata’s Patriotic Front has claimed the election was rigged and marred by electoral irregularities that can only be corrected through a ballot recount.

The Patriotic Front disclosed that the party will seek judicial guidance on the matter after the Electoral Commission of Zambia rejected to hear the patriotic front’s preliminary request to suspend the announcement of the results.

Its legal committee is in the process of filing court documents to compel the electoral commission to recount the presidential ballots and ensure that they are verified, reports say.

Banda, who was sworn in as president on Sunday, had been acting head of state since the death of Levy Mwanawasa in August and he had campaigned to maintain the business friendly policies of his predecessor.

He won 40 percent of the 1.79 million votes cast against 38 percent for Sata, according to final results released by the electoral commission. The margin of victory was 35,209 votes.

During the election campaign, Sata portrayed himself as a champion of the poor and said if elected he would act to get foreign companies to sell equity stakes to Zambians.

Meanwhile, 18 people are said to have been arrested already for rioting and causing extensive damage to public property.

They all belong to the opposition Patriotic Front, reports say.

Reports say the suspects burnt makeshift shops and stoned motor vehicles after the Electoral Commission declared Banda winner.

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