The Constitution (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 came into effect on Tuesday 5th January 2016, when President Edgar Lungu assented to it at the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka. The Constitution was signed into law with some amendments that largely border on the electoral process. Some of the new provisions in the amended Constitution include, “Dual Citizenship”, which allows Zambians who obtain citizenship in another country to maintain their Zambian citizenship. It also contains the “50% + 1” clause which requires that a presidential candidate win an election by 50% or more of the total votes cast. Further, the amended Constitution stipulates that a presidential candidate must have a “running mate” in a presidential election, who will become the Vice President for the Republic. The provision is progressive as it guarantees that Zambia will not be subjected to Presidential by-elections in the event that the sitting president dies, as the vice president would immediately assume office. The Constitution has also made provision for the establishment of a “Constitutional Court” to preside over constitutional disputes. Under the amended Constitution, the minimum requirement for people who are contesting in elections is set at “Grade 12 qualification”.
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