Zambian general election, 2011
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A general election was held in Zambia on 20 September 2011 to elect a President and representatives to the National Assembly. On 23 September, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala announced that Michael Sata had won the election, defeating incumbent Rupiah Banda. He was sworn into office the same day.
With Chinese companies investing US$2 billion by the end of 2010 in the Zambian economy, the status of Chinese business ties with Zambia, Africa's largest copper producer, grew significantly. Earlier in his campaign, Sata accused the Chinese mining firms of having slave-like labour conditions and ignoring safety standards and local cultural practices. He has been nicknamed "King Cobra" because of his harsh rhetoric, but he later toned down his rhetoric against the mostly Chinese foreign mining firms.
The Zambian-based Foundation for Democratic Process criticised the holding of the election without electoral reform. It blamed the history of electoral violence and the previous failure of the losing parties to accept losing on the lack of reform. While many called for the establishment of a 50% + 1 vote system for electing the president, the government said a new system would not be used for the election.
The election saw violence in the run-up to the vote.
Two days before the results were officially announced, the High Court banned three independent media outlets[which?] from publishing speculation on the result after The Post published a headline reading "Sata Heads for Victory." The same day, Banda's office also said that such reports were "rumours" as no final result had been compiled. The delay in announcing the results was the cause of riots in Ndola and Kitwe, where youths fought with riot police while also burning vehicles and markets. Additionally, hackers attacked the Election Commission's website that night and posted false results suggesting Sata won by a landslide.
European Union electoral observers said that the election was "generally well administered," but that there was not equitable access to resources, resulting in the lack of a "level playing field" in the campaign. They said that state-owned media had failed to meet "even their minimal obligations as public service media."
On 23 September, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala announced Sata the winner of the election with 1,150,045 votes, or 43%, with 95.3% of votes counted. Banda received 961,796 votes, or 36.1%, and other minor parties trailed in the poll. Sata was sworn into office later that day
Zambian presidential election, 2011
|Patriotic Front||Michael Sata||1,170,966||41.98%|
|Movement for Multi-Party Democracy||Rupiah Banda||987,866||35.42%|
|United Party for National Development||Hakainde Hichilema||506,763||18.17%|
|Alliance for Democracy and Development||Charles Milupi||26,270||0.94%|
|National Restoration Party||Elias Chipimo Jnr||10,672||0.38%|
|United National Independence Party||Tilyenji Kaunda||9,950||0.36%|
|Forum for Democracy and Development||Edith Nawakwi||6,833||0.24%|
|National Movement for Progress||N’gandu Peter Magande||6,344||0.23%|
|Zambians for Empowerment and Development||Frederick Mutesa||2,268||0.08%|
|Invalid or blank votes||56,678||2.03%|
|Source: Electoral Commission of Zambia|
Sata received a congratulatory telephone call from his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama. While in the 2006 election China had threatened to cut diplomatic relations with Zambia if Sata was elected, due to his criticisms of Chinese mining interests in the country, China issued a statement "welcoming" the result.
Psephologists suggested that the youth vote helped anti-incumbency in a continent that rarely results in an anti-incumbent vote. They also drew parallels with the 2011 ousting of the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt. As a result of Sata's rhetoric, there were also concerns about the future investment climate in the country. Other readings said that after Sata toned down his rhetoric he did not differ much from Banda, but benefited from a crowded ballot of candidates. Psephologists also indicated that Sata did well in the urban areas, while Banda was expected to do well in the rural areas.
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- Election Commission of Zambia for the 2011 election