Zambia’s 2006 Elections: Still Trapped in the Transition Gridlock

"Failure to introduce far-reaching constitutional and electoral reforms in the pre-election period may undermine the credibility of Zambia’s 2006 elections. A weak electoral governance system fails to guarantee a level playing field and free and fair elections. The pursuit by the incumbent of an easy victory via the simple majority system deepens the crisis of Zambia’s democracy. A divided opposition missed the opportunity to win a resounding victory and a mandate to consolidate democracy in the post-election period. Zambia’s former presidents remained divided, mirroring divisions within the opposition, throwing their support behind various opposition parties. In the end, they have failed to use their moral force to sway and embolden public opinion in favour of fundamental reforms to consolidate democratic practices and institutions and get Zambia’s democracy out of its mire. Regional and international actors have so far taken a tough position on Zambia’s compromised electoral process, with some boycotting the monitoring process or issuing strong criticism of its shortcomings."