By Paul Shalala
With the current composition of parliament were the ruling Patriotic Front has no two thirds majority, an alliance or a coalition government now looks likely.
According to official results, the PF has 60 seats; the MMD has 55 seats while the UPND has 28 seats.
The ADD and FDD has one seat each while three seats are held by independents.
Two more seats (Magoye, Nakonde) are yet to be decided following deaths by some candidates in the run up to the 20 September 2011 general elections.
This means that the country has a hang parliament, a situation were no party has the two thirds majority in the house.
According to the full list of recently elected Members of Parliament as released by the Electoral Commission of Zambia, no party gunnered the two thirds majority needed to control the house in terms of voting power.
Unlike the last parliament were the former ruling party MMD had more than 70 MPs including more opposition rebel lawmakers who used to vote with them, the current ruling party the Patriotic Front, does not have enough numbers in parliament.
Despite President Michael Sata having the privilege to nominate 8 more people to parliament which will bring the number of PF MPs to 68, the numbers will still be short of the two thirds of the voting power in the house.
Therefore, to avoid a crisis in passing laws in the house now that it is a hang parliament, the ruling PF is likely to enter into an alliance with one or two of the opposition parties with representation in parliament.
The most likely partner will be the UPND whose 28 MPs may help increase the PF’s control of the house way beyond the two thirds majority needed to pass laws and avoid what happened in Malawi were the opposition dominated parliament was refusing to pass laws proposed by the government which had few MPs in parliament.
Despite falling out earlier this year after the break up of the PF-UPND Pact, the two parties may still burry their differences, make it up and form a coalition government or an alliance for the smooth running of the legislature.
The other option would be to co-opt moderate or first time lawmakers from the former ruling MMD or co-opt the three independent MPs as well as the FDD and ADD whose seats may increase the PF’s grip on the house in parliament.
Despite being a new phenomena in Zambia, hang parliaments are a common occurrence after elections in many parts of the world.
Britain has a hang parliament following the failure by any of the major political parties to win with an absolute majority in the House of Commons after the last elections and that situation forced the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition government to avoid a constitution crisis.