Zambia: Electoral system

Updated November 2006

Legal basis[1] Constitution of Zambia 1996
Electoral Act no 12 of 2006
Electoral Commission Act 1996
Referendum Act, Chapter 14
Local Government Act, Chapter 282
Electoral (Code of Conduct) Regulations 2006
Electoral system Parliamentary Elections: Direct universal adult franchise first-past-post constituency elections[2].
Presidential Elections: President is elected by plurality through universal adult franchise[3].
Election period Concurrent parliamentary and presidential elections every 5 years[4].
Electoral institutions Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), Director[5].
Functions of electoral institutions ECZ: To supervise voter registration, to conduct parliamentary and presidential elections, to delimit constituencies, to supervise referenda and to conduct and supervise the local government elections[6].
Director: Acts as executive arm of ECZ; executes management and administration of the ECZ and implements its decisions[7]
Independence of electoral institutions Commissioners are appointed by the President, subject to parliamentary ratification and the Director by the ECZ. Commissioners may be removed by the President for insanity or bankruptcy[8].
Demarcation The ECZ is responsible for delimitation of the 150 constituencies[9].
Voter registration Continuous registration[10].
Registration is conducted by officials of the ECZ and supervised by the Directorate.
Voters present a green national registration card[11].
Voter's card issued.
Voter education The ECZ is tasked by law with voter and civic education, as are private individuals and organisations providing they are impartial and independent of any political party and that they promote conditions for free and fair elections[12].
Nomination of candidates Parliamentary Elections: Constituency candidates must be over 25, must have their nominations endorsed by nine registered voters in the constituency and must pay election fees[13].
Presidential Elections: Presidential candidates must be over 35, must have their nominations endorsed by 200 registered voters, must make a declaration of assets and liabilities and must pay a fee[14]
Funding of political parties Public funding of political parties is not provided for in Zambia[15].
There is no legislation regulating the source of funds raised or the ways in which these funds are expended[16].
Election campaign The ECZ is empowered by law to issue a code of conduct governing campaigning that is binding on all electoral participants and is legally enforceable. A code has been promulgated as the Electoral (Conduct) Regulations 2006[17].
Communication The Electoral (Conduct) Regulations 2006 are binding on the media[18].
Counting Counting is generally undertaken at the polling station where the votes were cast, but provision is made for the ECZ to order counting at another venue if it is necessary for a free and fair election. Counting begins as soon as possible after the close of polling in the presence of candidates or their agents and observers and monitors[19].
Announcement of results The presiding officer publicly declares the provisional results in the polling station to all present and transmits them to the ECZ[20]. The ECZ determines the final results by adding together the results from the polling stations and declares them[21].
Conflict resolution Election petitions are heard by the High Court. Petitions must be lodged within 30 days of the disputed results being declared[22]. The ECZ is empowered to resolve conflicts and disputes through conciliation or mediation and to set up conflict management committees to resolve disputes[23]
Election monitoring Observers and monitors are accredited by the ECN, and issued with a code of conduct[24].

Table notes

[1] Electoral Commission of Zambia Undated.
[2] Constitution 1996, Articles 63(2), 77(1).
[3] Constitution 1996, Articles 34(1), (8).
[4] Constitution 1996, Articles 34(1), 35(1), 88(6)(a), (7).
[5] Constitution 1996, Article 76 (1); Electoral Commission Act 1996, 12(1).
[6] Constitution 1996, Article 76(1); Referendum Act, 4 (the act specifies only a Commission but the members are the same as the ECZ); Local Government Act, 3 (the act specifies only a Commission but the members are the same as the ECZ).
[7] Electoral Commission Act 1996, 12(2).
[8] Electoral Commission Act 1996, Article 4(3), 12(1), 4(3).
[9] Electoral Act 2006, 4.
[10] Constitution 1996, Article 76(1).
[11] Electoral Act 2006, 5(a).
[12] Electoral Act 2006, 77-78.
[13] Constitution 1996, Article 66(2).
[14] Constitution 1996, 34(5).
[15] Kabemba & Eiseman 2004, 15.
[16] Karume 2004, 56.
[17] Electoral Act 2006, 109. For a discussion of the content of the Electoral (Conduct) Regulations see The Code of conduct.
[18] Electoral (Conduct) Regulations 2006, 11-12.
[19] Electoral Act 2006, 64, 66, 68, 76.
[20] Electoral Act 2006, 70(2).
[21] Electoral Act 2006, 74.
[22] Electoral Act 2006, 96-105.
[23] Electoral Act 2006, 110, 111.
[24] Electoral Act 2006, 75.


CONSTITUTION OF ZAMBIA 1996, [www] [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 9 Mar 2010).

ELECTORAL ACT 2006, [www] [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 9 Mar 2010).

ELECTORAL COMMISSION ACT 1996, [www] [opens new window] (accessed 9 Mar 2010).

ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF ZAMBIA UNDATED, [www] [opens new window] (accessed 9 Mar 2010).

ELECTORAL (CONDUCT) REGULATIONS 2006, [www] regions-en/eisa/ZM/Electoral%20Conduct%20Regulations%202006.pdf [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 9 Mar 2010).

ELECTORAL REFORM TECHNICAL COMMITTEE 2004, Interim Report of the Electoral Reform Technical Committee: Extracts, [www] [opens new window] (accessed 9 Mar 2010).

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT (Chapter 282), [www] [opens new window] (accessed 9 Mar 2010).

KABEMBA, C & EISEMAN, M "Multipartyism in Zambia", IN Kabemba, C (ed), Elections and Democracy in Zambia [PDF document], EISA.

KARUME, S "Donors' support to democratisation in Zambia" IN Kabemba, C (ed), Elections and Democracy in Zambia [PDF document], EISA.

REFERENDUM ACT (Chapter 14), [www] [opens new window] (accessed 9 Mar 2010).