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Officials Report Large Turnout for Zambia Election


Officials in Zambia report strong voter turnout for parliamentary elections and a tightly fought presidential race.

Election officials say polling went off smoothly across most of the country Thursday.

Five candidates are running for president, including incumbent Levy Mwanawasa, who is seeking a second five-year term. He is facing a strong challenge from former policeman and veteran politician, Michael Sata.

President Mwanawasa has drawn praise for anti-corruption efforts and an improvement in Zambia's economy. However, more than two-thirds of Zambians still live on less than one dollar a day.

Mr. Sata says the president has sold out the country to foreign business, and has promised to reduce taxes.

Results are expected to flow in over the next few days.

Mr. Sata has also made an issue of the president's health. The 59-year-old Mwanawasa suffered a minor stroke earlier this year.

Early public opinion polls showed Mr. Sata in the lead, although the president moved ahead in the final survey published Monday. The surveys show a third candidate, businessman Haikande Hichilema, may also attract significant support.

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