Zambia’s new presidential and parliamentary election dates have been set

Zambia’s elections will now hold on Aug. 11 2016. “The new constitution has a fixed election date and that will take effect as soon as the president signs,” Amos Chanda, the presidential spokesman said. Chanda also explained that other amendments to the  constitution include a new requirement for the winning presidential candidate to get over 50 percent of the official votes cast. All of this come with incumbent President Edgar Lungu’s decision to scrap power price hike. He has reversed the increase in electricity tariffs as the hike is harming the poor, Chanda noted.

The Republic has been in trouble for a while now, suffering from soaring food prices and power cuts, to the Kwacha (the national currency), which has been tagged the worst in the world, the country is clearly in need of a plan to rebuild its economy.In the energy sector, Zambia has also been battling with recurrent load shedding which has raised concerns over improvements in energy supply. Demand for power in Zambia has been growing steadily over the past few years. Last year the country’s power demand stood at about 1 900MW. However, its energy and mining sector are the two most important drivers of growth, even though the energy sector can have a more transformational impact as it has a direct bearing on all sectors of the society.

This newly set date will therefore lead to another keenly contested vote following last year’s tied race. Edward Lungu, who was elected president in 2015 (former president Michael Sata died late 2014), is the favourite to win in next year’s election. His major opposition in 2015, Hakainde Hichelima of the Union Party for Development (UPND), is also a front runner in the new polls. While eleven candidates contested for the post of the president in 2015, it is still unclear how many candidates will contest in this year’s election.

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