Lazarus Chakwera was sworn in as Malawi’s new president on Sunday after the election commission declared him as the winner of a re-run presidential election, reported Reuters.
The 65-year-old Chakwera won the rerun of the Malawi presidential election with just less than 59 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, the electoral commission said, beating incumbent Peter Mutharika. The former got 2.6 million votes against 1.75 million for Mutharika. The total voter turnout was just under 65 percent.
The re-run was ordered after outgoing president Mutharika’s victory in a May 2019 ballot was overturned by the Malawi Constitutional Court over fraud allegations. His disputed win sparked months of anti-government demonstrationsm across Malawi.
“My victory is a win for democracy and justice. My heart is bubbling with joy,” Mr. Chakwera said after his win.
The swearing-in ceremony was held in Malawi’s Lilongwe where thousands of people gathered as Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda administered the oath to Chakwera and Vice-president Saulos Chilima.
In his inaugural speech the new president promised to be president for all Malawians whether they voted for him or not. He said his role would be to unite and serve Malawians.
“I know there are many of you who did not vote for me and the prospect of my presidency gives you fear, I want you to know that my administration will strive to give equal opportunities for all of us together,” Mr. Chakwera said.
On Saturday, Mutharika claimed that re-run was marred with voting irregularities including violence and intimidation against his party’s election monitors, but the electoral commission dismissed the complaint. The opposition also denied the allegations.
Mr. Chakwera dismissed Mutharika’s allegations that the poll was marred by violence and irregularities’, saying his predecessor was “misled by rumors”. However, he said he would have no issues if Mr. Mutharika wanted to challenge the Malawi election results.