Lusaka - Zambia's Supreme Court has rejected a petition by opposition leader Michael Sata for a recount of the votes in the October 30 presidential election in Africa's biggest copper producer.

"... this application is ... refused with costs," Acting Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima said in her ruling on Wednesday.

President Rupiah Banda had called on the Supreme Court to dismiss Sata's petition, which raised the prospect of prolonged political uncertainty in a country suffering badly from the fall in copper prices caused by the global economic downturn.

The election was held to replace Levy Mwanawasa, who died in September after a stroke. Mwanawasa's fiscal discipline won praise from Western donors and investors.

In a separate submission, Sata said the electoral commission had 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. - Reuters