From the news desk

Lungu takes early lead in Zambia elections

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Patriotic Front candidate Edgar Lungu took an early lead on Thursday against his rival Hakainde Hichilema in Zambia’s second presidential election in three years.

From the 80 constituencies verified and declared by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), Lungu had garnered 521,003 votes against Hichilema’s 469,414, a Sapa correspondent reported.

Zambians voted on January 20 to elect a new president following the death of Michael Sata in October, 2014.

The previous election, in 2011, was held after the death of Levy Patrick Mwanawasa in August 2008.

Final results are only expected late Friday or Saturday morning after a few polling centres in Eastern Zambia were inaccessible due to poor roads. Voting in these areas was still ongoing on Thursday.

Of the 2,983,912 total registered voters 1,031,262 (34.5 percent) from 80 constituencies made their mark.

A total of 9934 votes were rejected.

ECZ chairwoman Justice Ireen Mambilima told reporters in Lusaka that results from the remaining 70 constituencies were expected late on Friday or early Saturday.

On Wednesday, the ECZ suspended the release of the results on account of a complaint from Hichilema. He said the announcement of figures showing a leading contender would influence those still voting.

In third position was Movement for Multi-Party Democracy candidate Nevers Mumba, who got 7869 votes (0.76 percent). The only female candidate, Edith Nawakwi, received 7449 votes (0.72 percent) of the votes counted so far.

Tilyenji Kaunda, son of former liberation president Kenneth Kaunda, received 4893 votes, National Restoration Party candidate Elias Chipimo 3297, and Fourth Revolution Party leader Erick Chanda 3275. SAPA

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