Zambia opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was declared winner of Zambia’s hotly contested presidential election, defeating incumbent Edgar Lungu.
With 155 of 156 constituencies reporting, official results on Monday showed Hichilema had secured 2,810,757 votes against Lungu’s 1,814,201.
“I therefore declare the said Hakainde Hichilema to be president-elect of the Republic of Zambia,” electoral commission chairman Justice Esau Chulu said in a televised address.
The significant win sparked celebrations on the streets after an election marred by sporadic violence.
Hichilema, a former chief executive officer at an accounting firm before he entered politics, faces a daunting task turning around the economic fortunes of one of the world’s poorest countries.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from the capital Lusaka, said many of the voters were young people.
“They say this was a protest vote, a protest for hope and a protest for change,” she said.
The election marked the sixth time Hichilema had run for the top job and the third time he had challenged 64-year-old incumbent Lungu.
In 2016, he narrowly lost to Lungu by about 100,000 votes.
Lungu, who has been in office for six years, faced the electorate amid growing resentment about the rising cost of living and crackdowns on dissent in the southern African country.