Zambia 1991 Constitution (reviewed 2016)

Table of Contents


Electoral Systems and Process

Article 45. Principles of electoral systems and process

  1. The electoral systems provided for in Article 47 for the election of President, Member of Parliament or councillor shall ensure—
    1. that citizens are free to exercise their political rights;
    2. universal adult suffrage based on the equality of a vote;
    3. fair representation of the various interest groups in society; and
    4. gender equity in the National Assembly or council.
  2. The electoral process and system of administering elections shall ensure—
    1. that elections are free and fair;
    2. that elections are free from violence, intimidation and corruption;
    3. independence, accountability, efficiency and transparency of the electoral process;
    4. a simple and practical system of voting and tabulating votes; and
    5. timely resolution of electoral disputes.

Article 46. Franchise

A citizen who has attained the age of eighteen years is entitled to be registered as a voter and vote in an election by secret ballot.

Article 47. Electoral systems

  1. Elections to the office of President shall be conducted directly, under a majoritarian electoral system, where the winning candidate must receive more than fifty percent of the valid votes cast, and in accordance with Article 101.
  2. Elections to the National Assembly shall be conducted under a first-past-the-post electoral system in accordance with Article 68.
  3. Elections to councils shall be conducted under a first-past-the-post electoral system, and in accordance with Articles 153 and 154.
  4. A constituency and a ward shall return only one member to the National Assembly and council, respectively.

Article 48. Electoral process

The electoral process for electing a President, Member of parliament or councillor shall be prescribed.

Article 49. System for administering elections

The system for administering elections shall be prescribed

Article 50. Access to media

A political party and a candidate contesting an election shall have access to the media, especially during election campaigns.

Article 51. Independent candidates

A person is eligible for election as an independent candidate for a National Assembly seat if the person—

  1. is not a member of a political party and has not been a member of a political party for at least two months immediately before the date of the election; and
  2. meets the qualifications specified in Article 70 for election as a Member of Parliament.

Article 52. Nominations

  1. A candidate shall file that candidate’s nomination paper to a returning officer, supported by an affidavit stating that the candidate is qualified for nomination as President, Member of Parliament or councillor, in the manner, on the day, and at the time and place set by the Electoral Commission by regulation.
  2. A returning officer shall, immediately on the filing of a nomination paper, in accordance with clause (1), duly reject the nomination paper if the candidate does not meet the qualifications or procedural requirements specified for election to that office.
  3. The information contained in a nomination paper and affidavit shall be published by the Electoral Commission, as prescribed.
  4. A person may challenge, before a court or tribunal, as prescribed, the nomination of a candidate within seven days of the close of nomination and the court shall hear the case within twenty-one days of its lodgement.
  5. The processes specified in clauses (1) to (4) shall be completed at least thirty days before a general election.
  6. Where a candidate dies, resigns or becomes disqualified in accordance with Article 70, 100 or 153 or a court disqualifies a candidate for corruption or malpractice, after the close of nominations and before the election date, the Electoral Commission shall cancel the election and require the filing of fresh nominations by eligible candidates and elections shall be held within thirty days of the filing of the fresh nominations.

Article 53. Unopposed candidates

  1. Where only one candidate is nominated for election as President, Member of Parliament or councillor, by the date and time set by the Electoral Commission for receiving nominations and at the close of the nomination period, that candidate shall be declared duly elected.
  2. A person may, within seven days of a declaration made in accordance with clause (1), challenge the declaration, as prescribed.
  3. The processes specified in clauses (1) and (2) shall be completed at least thirty days before a general election.

Article 54. Electoral code of conduct

A candidate and a political party shall comply with a prescribed electoral code of conduct.

Article 55. Losing candidate not eligible for certain appointments

A candidate who loses an election as a President, Vice-President, Member of Parliament or councillor is not eligible, during the term of that National Assembly or council, for appointment as—

  1. Minister; or
  2. Provincial Minister.

Article 56. Election date for general elections

  1. A general election shall be held, every five years after the last general election, on the second Thursday of August.
  2. The day on which a general election is held shall be a public holiday.

Article 57. By-elections

  1. Where a vacancy occurs in the office of Member of Parliament, mayor, council chairperson or councillor, a by-election shall be held within ninety days of the occurrence of the vacancy.
  2. A by-election shall not be held within the one hundred-and-eighty day period that precedes a general election.
  3. The Electoral Commission shall, by regulation, set the place where, and the date and time when, a by-election is to be held.

Constituencies Wards and Delimitation

Article 58. Constituencies, wards and delimitation

  1. Zambia shall be divided into constituencies and wards for purposes of elections to the National Assembly and councils, respectively.
  2. The number of constituencies shall be equal to the number of seats of elected members in the National Assembly.
  3. The number of wards in a district shall be prescribed.
  4. The Electoral Commission shall determine the names and boundaries of constituencies and wards.
  5. The Electoral Commission shall, at intervals of not more than ten years, review the names and boundaries of constituencies and wards.
  6. The names and details of the boundaries of constituencies and wards shall be published in the Gazette and shall come into effect on the next dissolution of Parliament or councils.
  7. A person may apply to the Constitutional Court for review of a decision of the Electoral Commission made under this Article.

Article 59. Matters to take into account when delimiting constituencies and wards

The Electoral Commission shall, in delimiting the boundaries of constituencies and wards—

  1. take into account the history, diversity and cohesiveness of the constituency or ward;
  2. have regard to population density, trends and projections;
  3. ensure that the number of inhabitants in each constituency or ward is reasonable, taking into account the means of communication and geographical features;
  4. ensure that constituencies and wards are wholly within districts; and
  5. seek to achieve an approximate equality of constituency and ward population, subject to the need to ensure adequate representation for urban and sparsely populated areas.

Political Parties

Article 60. Political parties

  1. A political party has the right to—
    1. disseminate information on social and economic programmes of a national character and of its political ideology;
    2. sponsor candidates for election or nomination to a State office in respect of which elections are required to be held; and
    3. conduct primary elections for the selection of candidates.
  2. A political party shall—
    1. promote the values and principles specified in this Constitution;
    2. have a national character;
    3. promote and uphold national unity;
    4. promote and practice democracy through regular, free and fair elections within the party;
    5. respect the right of its members to participate in the affairs of the political party;
    6. respect the right of its members to seek redress from a court or tribunal when aggrieved by a decision of the political party; and
    7. subscribe to and observe the code of conduct for political parties, as prescribed.
  3. A political party shall not—
    1. be founded on a religious, linguistic, racial, ethnic, tribal, gender, sectoral or provincial basis or engage in propaganda based on any of these factors;
    2. engage in or encourage violence or intimidate its members, supporters, opponents or other persons;
    3. engage in corrupt practices; and
    4. except as prescribed, use public resources to promote its interest or that of its members.
  4. The following shall be prescribed with regard to political parties:
    1. the establishment and management of a Political Parties’ Fund to provide financial support to political parties with seats in the National Assembly;
    2. the accounts of political parties which are funded under the Political Parties’ Fund and the submission of audited accounts by political parties;
    3. the sources of funds for political parties;
    4. the maximum amount of money to be used for campaigns during elections; and
    5. matters incidental to matters specified in this clause.
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