The Patriotic Front (PF) is the ruling political party in Zambia. The party was formed by Michael Sata as a breakaway party of the MMD in 2001 after the then-president Frederick Chiluba nominated Mwanawasa” href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levy_Mwanawasa”>Levy Mwanawasa as the MMD’s presidential candidate for 2001 elections. After several years as an opposition party the PF gained power in the 2011 general elections. The party is a consultative member of Socialist International, having been admitted in February 2013.
The Patriotic Front was formed as a political party in 2001. In 2000, after Chiluba lost a bid to change the constitution to allow him to stand for third term, Michael Sata thought he would be endorsed as the MMD presidential candidate. The answer was given in 2001 when Chiluba noted that none of those (including Sata) who were in his government at the time were capable of winning the elections. At a secret ballot, Chiluba personally nominated Mwanawasa and voted for him to be the presidential candidate. Angered by this turn of events, Sata quit the MMD and founded the PF. At the same time, notable figures like Christon Tembo, Godfrey Miyanda and Edith Nawakwi formed the Forum for Democracy and Development Party (FDD). Sata became leader of the PF and was its presidential candidate for the 2001 general elections; he received 3.4% of the vote, finishing seventh out of the eleven candidates. In the National Assembly elections the party received 2.8% of the vote, winning a single seat.
Sata was again the party’s presidential candidate for the 2006 general elections, this time finishing second to the Mwanawasa with 29% of the vote. With its National Assembly vote share increasing to 23% , the party won 43 seats, becoming the largest opposition party. Following Mwanawasa’s death, a presidential by-election was held in 2008. Sata finished second to MMD candidate Rupiah Banda with 38% of the vote to Banda’s 40%.
The 2011 general elections saw a reversal of the 2008 result, with Sata beating Banda by a margin of 42% to 35%. The PF also became the largest party in the National Assembly, winning 60 of the 150 seats. However, Sata died in office in October 2014. Vice-President Guy Scott took over as interim president until a by-election was held in January 2015. Edgar Lungu was selected as the party’s candidate, and won the election with 48% of the vote.