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National Assembly

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Last elections module

A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 11 August 2016
Purpose of elections The Patriotic Front (PF), led by President Edgar Lungu, won the majority of the 156 directly elected seats in the enlarged 167-member National Assembly (see note 1). The United Party for National Development (UPND) of Mr. Hakainde Hichelema doubled its share to 58 seats and became the second largest party. The Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD, which held power for 20 years until 2011, see note 2), took only three seats. During the election campaign, the major parties focused on the economy, youth unemployment, poverty, education and healthcare.

The parliamentary elections were held in parallel with presidential polls. Mr. Lungu was first elected President in January 2015, narrowly defeating Mr. Hichelema, to complete the remaining term of the former president, Michael Sata, who had passed away. In 2016, Mr. Lungu was re-elected in the first round with 50.3% of valid votes, ahead of Mr. Hichelema with 47.6%. On 19 August, Mr. Hichilema filed a court case challenging the presidential election results. He argued the President did not win 50% of the total votes and the voter register was not credible.

In parallel with the elections, a referendum on constitutional amendments to enhance the bill of rights was rejected due to low turnout (see note 3).

Note 1:
In accordance with the 2016 constitutional amendments , the statutory number of members of the National Assembly increased from 158 (150 directly elected and 8 appointed) to 167 (156 directly elected, 8 appointed by the President, plus the Vice-President, the Speaker and the First Deputy Speaker). Although Article 45 (d) provides that the electoral system shall ensure gender equality in the National Assembly, there is no quota system or reserved seats for women.

Note 2:
The MMD won 55 seats and became the second largest party in 2001. It experienced an internal split prior to the 2015 presidential by-election after two MMD members announced their candidacy: MMD leader Nevers Selwila Mumba and former President Rupiah Banda.

Note 3:
For the referendum to be validated, it required 50% of eligible voters to cast their vote (about 3,750,000 people), and 50% of votes cast to be in favour of the proposed changes (around 1,875,000 people). However, the referendum received "yes" votes from only 1,853,559 people.
Date of previous elections: 20 September 2011

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: 11 May 2016

Timing of election: Early elections*
*The January 2016 constitutional amendments (Act No. 2 of 2016) stipulate a general election be held "every five years after the last general election, on the second Thursday of August", instead of "the last Wednesday of September". The 2016 elections were thus held in August, instead of September.

Expected date of next elections: 12 August 2021*
*The second Thursday of August.

Number of seats at stake: 158 (full renewal)

Number of candidates: 651 (545 men, 106 women)

Percentage of women candidates: 16.3%

Number of parties contesting the election: Not available.

Number of parties winning seats: 4

Alternation of power: No

Number of parties in government: 2

Names of parties in government: Patriotic Front (PF), Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD)

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 23 September 2016

Name of the new Speaker: Mr. Patrick Matibini
Voter turnout
Round no 111 August 2016
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
3'752'879 (56.03%)

Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Patriotic Front (PF)
United Party for National Development (UPND)
Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD)
Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
Patriotic Front (PF) 80
United Party for National Development (UPND) 58
Independents 14
Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) 3
Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
National Assembly (25.08.2016, 26.08.2016, 06.09.2016, 28.09.2016, 09.03.2017)

Note on the number of women:
As at 28 September 2016, there were a total of 30 women out of 167 members as follows.
- 26 women directly elected (out of 156 members)
- The Vice President;
- 2 appointed members (out of eight members);
- The First Deputy Speaker.

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