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EU observers: Zambian elections transparent despite delays in vote counting
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2006-11-26 13:40
Zambia's tripartite elections held in September were marked by increased transparency throughout most of the electoral process though there were some problems in counting, tabulation and transmission of results, the European Union election observation mission has said in its final report.

"Overall, the elections were marked by increased transparency and confidence in the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) throughout most of the electoral process, a generally successful voter education campaign, a pluralistic campaign environment in which freedom of assembly was respected as well as active participation in the electoral process from numerous civil society groups," Saturday's newspaper The Post cited the report as saying.

The report said that the elections were generally well-administered, largely peaceful and offered voters a wide range of candidates to choose from in a genuinely competitive process.

It said that conduct of the elections demonstrated improvements in comparison to the 2001 elections and the high turnout of over 70 percent on polling day suggested a strong commitment of the Zambians to further the democratic development of the country.

The report said three major parties, namely the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), Patriotic Front (PF) and the umbrella United Democratic Alliance (UDA) campaigned actively across the country, with PF and UDA focusing on their regional strongholds.

However, the counting, tabulation and transmission of results process encountered numerous problems, the EU reported said.

The report maintained that the tabulation and the electronic transmission of results proved to be lengthy, complicated, partially unsuccessful and ultimately the weakest step in the whole election process.

The report recommended that a permanent independent election tribunal, separate from the ECZ, be established to resolve election disputes.

President Levy Mwanawasa secured a second term with 43 percent support during the elections, beating his two main rivals of Michael Sata of PF and Hakainde Hichilema from the UDA.

Source:Xinhuanet 
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