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Zambia leader's narrow win portends populist shift

Monday, January 26, 2015

Significance

The main opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND), immediately rejected the official victory declaration, counting irregularities. No evidence was offered to support this allegation, but counting delays, the result's closeness and claims that a parallel vote count has Lungu losing could undermine the government's legitimacy.

Impacts

  • The expectation that the 2017 general election is likely to be close will encourage the PF to raise government spending.
  • Slumping copper prices cutting government revenues could necessitate further borrowing -- contravening IMF recommendations.
  • Public sector unions are likely to use the post-election period to demand an end to the state wage freeze in place for 2014-15.
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