ONLY 29000 votes difference may determine the outcome of the January 20 presidential election keenly contests by PF president Edgar Lungu and UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
Mr Hichilema who initially suffered a wide gap of more than 100000 votes recovered from the significant returns from Southern Province which reduced Mr Lungu’s lead from 53 percent to about 48 percent by ECZ count by 23 hours last night.
According to the results announced by ECZ chairperson Irene Mambilima yesterday, Mr Lungu had polled 670 397 votes in the 111 constituencies while Mr Hichilema was trailing with 641 341 votes in his bag.
But unverified results from the 149 constituencies, the projections are that Mr Lungu was likely to amass 799,993 while Mr Hichilema would remain in the second position at 725, 345 votes which gave the Defence and Justice minister a 74,658 lead.
By last night, only Chama constituency voters were still casting their ballots but from the 27 that had completed voting, 16 polling stations had been taken by Mr Lungu while two of the remaining 13 would only be voting today.
The presidential race has been a two-man race between Mr Lungu and Mr Hichilema and contest is certainly going to be taken to the wire while other candidates have already conceded defeat.
Among the other candidates in the race include Dr Nevers Mumba, who by last night had polled less than 1000 while FDD’s Edith Nawakwi scored 8,806 and UNIP’s Tilyenji Kaunda polling 5,717.
Others are Erick Chanda’s 4th Republic party with 4,029, Elias Chipimo Junior Narep with 3,812 and Herritage Party’s Godfrey Miyanda 3,445 and Daniel Pule’s Christian Democratic party at 1,962, FDA’a Ludwig Sondashi 1,118 and bottom Green Party’s Peter Sinkamba at 889 respectively.
In the results that were announced on Tuesday Chipata, Mr Lungu beat other contenders in Chipata Central after polling 10,883 votes against Mr Hichilema who got 3,228 votes.
Returning officer, Mwila Kalobwe, announced the results from all the 38 polling stations.
In Solwezi Central, Mr Hichilema polled 14, 737 while Mr Lungu polled 4,219.
In Lundazi, Mr Lungu won Lundazi Central constituency after polling 8,779 votes while Mr Hichilema got 2,972 votes.
In Choma Central, Mr Hichilema polled 21, 921 while Mr Lungu only managed 2,139.
In Kalulushi, Mr Lungu emerged victorious with 11,371 Votes followed by Mr Hichilema who got 4,040 votes .
Kalulushi District Electoral Officer, Shame Samalela, announced the results at Kalulushi Secondary School.
In Chikankata, Mr Hichilema got 12,457 while Mr Lungu pollrf 471.
In Ndola Central Constituency, Returning Officer Roy Kuseka announced that Mr Lungu had a total of 12, 610 votes followed by Mr Hichilema who scored 4, 662.
Ndola Central recorded a total of 237 rejected ballot papers.
In Mazabuka Central, Mr Hichilema got 14,801 while Mr Lungu polled 3092.
In Chifubu constituency, Returning Officer Joseph Kabwesha announced that Mr Lungu had a total of 11, 817 votes while Mr Hichilema had 3422.
In Livingstone, Mr Hichilema got 19, 125 while Mr Lungu 8352.