Officially: Republic of Zambia.
Seat of government: Lusaka.
Structure: The president is elected directly by simple plurality. The legislature (National Assembly) is elected through geographical constituencies.
Governing party: Patriotic Front (since 2011).
Head of government: Edgar Lungu, PF, president (since 2015).
Other legislative parties: Movement for Multi-party Democracy, led by Nevers Mumba; United Party for National Development, led by Hakainde Hichilema.
Assessment: First president Kenneth Kaunda (1964-91) established an autocracy and, starting in 1972, a one-party state, of the United National Independence Party. The MMD, as its name suggests, led the movement to democracy, with Frederick Chiluba (1991-2002) defeating Kaunda in presidential elections in 1991. But the MMD then ran several dubious elections to keep itself in power, prompting another movement for democracy. Opposition leader Paul Tembo was assassinated in 2001, shortly before he was to testify in a government-corruption trial. The supposed winner of the 2001 presidential elections was Levy Mwanawasa (2002-8); the opposition won a short-lived majority in the assembly. The leading opposition Forum for Democracy and Development and twelve other parties were banned in 2006. Mwanawasa did, though, break from Chiluba and pursue corruption investigations; he also, late in his time in office, became a major African opponent of Robert Mugabe. The 2006 election led to an official plurality for Mwanawasa, and a second term, though runner-up Michael Sata of the PF disputed the result, and was then prosecuted on charges of sedition, espionage, and defaming Mwanawasa. Mwanawasa died in office in 2008; an election that year to finish his term was officially won by Rupiah Banda, who had been his vice president. Sata again finished second and again challenged the result. A 2011 rematch between Banda and Sata was won by Sata (2011-4) with a plurality; Satas PF also secured a plurality in the assembly. Sata died in office in 2014, succeeded temporarily by Guy Scott. Lungu defeated Hichilema in the 2015 election for a permanent president, and again in 2016 for a full term, with the UPND disputing the result.
FH: 3-3, partly free (democratic). Econ: 5.25 (97), hybrid.
Updated: 2016 October 7.