Zambia’s outgoing president Edgar Lungu conceded defeat on Monday after a landslide election win by opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, who is set to become the southern African country’s 7th President.
With all but one of 156 constituencies counted, Hichilema had won 2 810 777 votes against Lungu’s 1 814 201, and the electoral commission declared him the next president.
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Lungu (64) congratulated Hichilema in a televised address, marking Zambia’s third peaceful handover of power to an opposition party.
He has also indicated that he will comply with constitutional provisions to ensure the peaceful transition of power. Said Lungu:
I will comply with the constitutional provisions for a peaceful transition of power.
I would therefore like to congratulate my brother, the president-elect, His Excellency Mr Hakainde Hichilema.
Power has switched from a ruling party to the opposition twice before, since independence from Britain in 1964.
The latest shift strengthens Zambia’s democratic credentials and sets an example on a continent with a patchy history of peaceful change.