The December 1998 local elections in Zambia produced another convincing win for the ruling party, the MMD. The former ruling party, UNIP, came second, having boycotted previous elections. The significance of the elections is several-fold. There is the fact they were held at all, given Zambia's political turbulence since 1996; the losers claimed that they were not free and fair; the outcome reconfirms MMD as the party to beat; and there are possible implications for party realignments ahead of the 2001 elections. The results of two parliamentary by-elections in January 1999 confirm this analysis. The elections' significance must be placed in perspective by reference to other factors that will be politically influential in coming months. Chief among these is whether Chiluba and Kaunda will contest the next presidential election. The outcome will have major implications not just for the next general elections,but for constitutionalism in Zambia and the future of democracy there
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