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Zambia Presidential Poll Remains Close

Polling agents guard ballot boxes as tallying continues a day after presidential elections, Lusaka, Zambia, Jan. 21, 2015.

The latest results from Zambia's presidential election show ruling party candidate Edgar Lungu holding onto a slim but narrowing lead.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia said Friday that Lungu, the Patriotic Front candidate, had just under 49 percent of the vote.

His closest rival, Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development, had just under 47 percent.

Final results are now expected Saturday.

The election was called to replace late president Michael Sata, who died after a long illness in October. The winner will serve the remainder of his term until national elections next year.

Heavy rains complicated the polling Tuesday and voting in some areas was not finished until the following day. The Zambian air force is helping to collect and deliver election results from inaccessible areas.

On Thursday, electoral commission officials said results from 90 out of 150 constituencies have been counted so far.

Officials reported a low turnout of about 35 percent.

Poll observers from the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) on Thursday said they are impressed with the electoral commission's work in administering a transparent and credible election.