The Malawi Electoral Commission on Monday announced a new date for fresh presidential polls ordered by the country’s top court. The election would now be held on July 2, reported Eyewitness News. The 2019 vote that declared Peter Mutharika as the winner was annulled because of massive irregularities.
Mutharika secured 38.5% of the vote in the elections held last year. Malawi Congress Party’s Lazarus Chakwera got 35 percent of the vote. Vice President Saulos Chilima, of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) Party, secured 20 percent of the votes, while UDF leader Atupele Muluzi got 5 percent of the votes.
“Following the Constitutional Court ruling on February 3 that nullified the presidential elections and ordered that there should be fresh elections, the commission … therefore announces that the elections will be held on 2nd July,” Electoral Commission Chief Jane Ansah told during a news conference.
Notably, the Malawi Constitutional Court overturned the outcome of the bMay 2019 election in a ruling last month, which handed President Peter Mutharika a second term in office.
The Malawi court said the poll results were marred with widespread irregularities, as there was massive use of correction fluid on tally sheets. The court also ordered for a fresh presidential election within 150 days and asked the authorities to launch a probe into the operations of the electoral commission.
Mutharika has appealed the court’s ruling and his appeal will be heard in the Supreme Court starting April 15. His previous attempt to get the court ruling suspended was rejected by the top court in February.
The case was the first time a presidential election has been challenged in Malawi since independence from the United Kingdom in 1964.
Malawi is the second African nation to nullify presidential election results and call for a rerun after Kenya annulled elections there in 2017 and ordered fresh polls on similar grounds of manipulation.