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The World

Judge Dismisses Petition Seeking Recount in Zambia

January 02, 2002|From Times Wire Services

LUSAKA, Zambia — A top judge rejected a petition today by the country's opposition parties to halt the swearing-in of a new president and force a ballot recount in closely fought presidential elections.

"Under the law as it stands, I cannot order the arrest of the presidential election before the swearing-in of the president. I dismiss the applicants' complaints," Judge Peter Chitengi told the High Court.

The inauguration was scheduled for later today.

Leaders of seven opposition parties have accused the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy of rigging the elections in favor of its candidate, Levy Mwanawasa, who was leading against his nearest rival, businessman Anderson Mazoka.

The MMD and electoral commission have rejected the allegations, but European Union observers have cited glaring irregularities in the electoral process.

On Tuesday, police outside the courthouse used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, angry over the projected election results that give Mwanawasa a narrow victory over Mazoka.

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