Malawi Electoral Commission hints results could come today

Malawians are eagerly awaiting the results of Tuesday’s rerun of the 2019 presidential election

The winner of Malawi’s presidential rerun could be declared today, 27 June, the country’s electoral body has said.

Malawians went to the polls on Tuesday (23 June) to elect a leader after last year’s presidential election result was overturned by a court, following widespread allegations of rigging.

Reports on 26 June quote the chairman of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Justice Chifundo Kachale, as saying that the tallying and checking of ballots could be completed by tonight.

The BBC reports that Kachale told local journalists that the results could be out “in the next 36 to 48 hours”.

The opposition alliance candidate Lazarus Chakwera is said to be leading, though the official results are yet to be released.

Early results

The Electoral Commission has started to announce early results, in what is expected to be a close contest.

On Thursday the Commission announced that it has received results from 26 of the country’s 28 districts.

President Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is running against Lazarus Chakwera of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Peter Kuwani of the Mbakuwaku Movement for Democracy (MMD).

The MEC chair, Justice Kachale, said Chakwera was leading in the Likoma District, while President Mutharika was leading in the Chiradzulu and Mwanza Districts.

He added that the Commission had finished verifying results from about one-fifth of the districts and promised to complete the rest soon.

Swift announcement

Justice Kachale said the Commission is committed to ensuring that the election results are announced as fast as possible in order to reduce tension.

“We continue to emphasise that we are committed to get this job done as soon as possible,” the EC chair told Voice of America.

“We wouldn’t want to create any anxiety by delaying this process needlessly. You have our greatest commitment that, come this evening, you will see significant progress on districts we have managed to clear.”

Meanwhile, reports from local media, including the state-owned Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), suggest that Chakwera has taken the lead with 55% of the votes.

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UPDATE (28 June 2020): Lazarus Chakwera was sworn in as Malawi’s new president after the Electoral Commission declared a historic overturn of the May 2019 election result.

BBC News
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