The 2011–2016 Zambian Elections: Incumbency, Turnovers and Democratic Consolidation

In: Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia

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Abstract

Literature on elections and democratic consolidation in Africa shows that incumbents win most elections by creating uneven electoral playing fields. Yet, Zambia is among a small but growing number of countries on the continent where elections are competitively contested between incumbent and opposition parties, resulting in one recent turnover, despite an uneven playing field. This chapter examines recent Zambian elections and shows that a combination of factors i.e. popular support for the ruling party, factionalism within the ruling party, and opposition strategies, help to explain recent electoral outcomes, including a turnover in 2011 and narrow incumbent victories in 2015 and 2016.