Zambia is a multi-party democracy and conducts elections every 5 years to choose the President, Members of Parliament and Councillors on the basis of universal adult suffrage. The elections to the three offices usually take place on the same day and are therefore referred to as tripartite elections. The last tripartite elections were held on 20th September 2011. In the period between the tripartite elections, the ECZ conducts by-elections as and when vacancies occur for Members of Parliament and Councillors.

A person can participate in elections as a voter, a candidate, an election official or monitor/observer.

Candidates in the elections are either sponsored by political parties or contest as independent candidates. The winning candidate in these elections is determined on the basis of a simple majority vote. This is referred to as the first-past-the post (FPTP) electoral system which Zambia has used since its independence in 1964.

All elections in Zambia open to monitoring and observation by local and international organisations respectively upon obtaining the necessary accreditation. The observers and monitors express their opinions on the conduct of each election through reports that they issue at the end of their missions.