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Zambian President Rupiah Banda has called on the Supreme Court to dismiss opposition leader Michael Sata’s petition for a recount of the southern African country’s Oct. 30 poll.

Zambia's new President Banda inspects a guard of honour during the swearing-in ceremony in Lusaka

Zambia's new President Banda inspects a guard of honour during the swearing-in ceremony in Lusaka

A prolonged dispute over the election in one of Africa’s more stable countries could unsettle investors at a time when Africa’s largest copper producer is already feeling the pinch from the global financial crisis.

In documents filed in the Supreme Court by his lawyers and seen by Reuters on Wednesday, Banda said the petition by the Patriotic Front for a recount should be dismissed.

“The petition merely seeks a scrutiny of all votes cast in the presidential election but makes no allegation of any malpractice or corruption against (me) or indeed against any other candidate, and thereby brings the legality of the petition into question,” Banda said in his submission.

“(I) pray this petition will be dismissed with costs.”

Sata has demanded a recount of the ballots, accusing Banda and the Electoral Commission of Zambia of electoral fraud, which he says enabled Banda to win. Banda won 40 percent to 38 percent for Sata, according to official results.

In November, the court asked Banda and Sata to make written submissions before a hearing. No date for that has been fixed.

In a separate submission, Sata said the electoral commission allowed voting to be extended by two days in some rural constituencies, giving an advantage to Banda. He said the huge number of spoiled votes recorded in his urban strongholds were intended to give victory to Banda.

The electoral commission said the poll extension was due to problems in delivering election materials to remote parts of the country with poor road networks.

The election was held to replace late President Levy Mwanawasa, who died in September after a stroke.

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