Countryaah, President Frederick Chiluba hinted in March that
he would like to run for re-election even though the
constitution forced him to resign during the year, when his
term expired. The MMD government party, the Movement for
Multiparty Democracy, began to try to change the
constitution and Chiluba dismissed a number of ministers who
opposed his re-election.
The president's actions prompted leading MMD members to
launch a campaign against his re-election. The campaign was
supported by church leaders, lawyers and civil rights
activists. Ambassadors from EU countries also urged Chiluba
to respect the constitution. In May, Chiluba bowed to
pressure and announced that he would not seek re-election.
In return, he dismissed all critics from the government,
including Vice President Christon Tembo. Around 80 leading
MMD members now formed the Forum for Democracy and
Development (FDD) and appointed Tembo as its presidential
candidate. MMD's candidate was appointed lawyer and former
Vice President Levy Mwanawasa.
Reports of widespread cheating and pressure on voters led
to unrest in connection with the general elections in
December. Election observers from the EU and African
countries supported the opposition's data on irregularities.
Despite widespread protests, however, Levy Mwanawasa was
declared a winner by a marginal margin in the presidential
election, taking office in 2002. The MMD remained the
largest party in parliament but appeared to be forced to
seek a coalition partner.