Zambia Electoral Systems

An electoral system is a set of rules on how votes are converted into seats for political or civic authority.

Majoritarian System

This system is used to conduct Presidential Election where the winning candidate must receive more than fifty percent of the valid votes cast

However, if at the initial ballot or first election, none of the presidential candidates gets more than fifty percent of the valid votes cast, a second ballot, will be held within thirty-seven days of the initial ballot or first election. In this election only the candidates with the highest and second highest number of valid votes cast in the initial ballot will be the candidates.

Simple Majority or First Past the Post

This system is used to conduct National Assembly, Mayoral/Council Chairperson and Councillor Elections. This is where a candidate who gets the highest number of votes is declared winner regardless of the percentage.

Types of Elections

There are three types of elections;

  • Presidential - Choosing the Republican President
  • National Assembly - Choosing members of the National Assembly
  • Local Government Elections - Choosing Mayors in City and Municipal Councils, Council Chairpersons for District Councils and Councillors in Wards.

Forms of Elections

  • General elections – This is when Presidential, National Assembly and Local Government Elections are held at the same time. Voters vote for a Republican President/Vice-President, Member of Parliament, Mayor/Council Chairperson and Councillors. General elections in Zambia are held on a second Thursday of August every five (5) years which is a public holiday.
  • By-elections – These are held when the office of the Member of Parliament, Mayor/Council Chairperson or Councillor becomes vacant.

Credible Elections

All the electoral activities that take place before, during and after the Election day help to determine whether or not elections are credible. It is therefore, important that the stages of the electoral process namely; electoral legal reforms, delimitation, voter registration, voter education, nominations, political campaigns, voting and results management are well managed.

Conditions of holding credible elections

  • A well-organised registration of voters’ exercise that gives an opportunity to eligible Zambians to register as voters.
  • Access to information by all voters and candidates to hold meetings and campaign freely without being intimidated or threatened.
  • Objective and balanced media coverage of candidates and all political parties.
  • Compliance to the Electoral Code of Conduct by all stakeholders.
  • All eligible voters are able to cast their votes without any difficulty.
  • The voting and counting process are conducted according to laid down procedures.
  • All eligible citizens should be able to register to voter.
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