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Malawi opposition leader Chakwera wins presidential vote re-run

Sunday June 28 2020
chakwera

Malawi's opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera won last week's presidential election re-run with 58.57 per cent of the vote. PHOTO | AMOS GUMULIRA | AFP

By AFP

Malawi's opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera won last week's presidential election re-run with 58.57 per cent of the vote, the electoral commission said Saturday.

It was a dramatic reversal of fortune for the incumbent, Peter Mutharika, whose victory in the May 2019 election was overturned by the Constitutional Court, citing widespread fraud.

Some 6.8 million voters in the southern African country had returned to the polls on Tuesday.

And on Saturday, electoral commission chairman Chifundo Kachale told journalists: "The commission declares that Lazarus Chakwera, having attained 58.57 percent of the vote, has been duly elected as the president of Malawi."

MUTHARIKA SECOND

Mutharika came second with 1,751,377 votes, while underdog candidate Peter Dominico Kuwani received 32,456.

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Voter turnout was 64.81 per cent.

The announcement was met with loud cheers and applause as opposition supporters waved Malawi's red, black and green flag and chanted "Government!" in local Chichewa.

In February, Malawi's top court found the first election had been marred by widespread irregularities, including the use of correction fluid to tamper with result sheets.

The landmark ruling made Malawi just the second African country south of the Sahara to have presidential poll results set aside, after Kenya in 2017.

CHAKWERA ELATED

"This is a win for Malawians, it is a win for democracy, a win for justice," said an elated Chakwera after his victory was declared.

"It is a win that will enable this nation to really reset and begin to build a new kind of Malawi in which all of us together will be involved."

Meanwhile, a jubilant crowd gathered for a fireworks display at the headquarters of Chakwera's Malawi Congress Party in the capital Lilongwe.

Mutharika did not wish to comment on his defeat.

Earlier Saturday, Mutharika had argued that the election re-run had been flawed, citing violence and intimidation against DPP monitors.

"We have no further comment to make," Mutharika's spokesman Mgeme Kalilani told AFP after the result. "The statement we made earlier today is adequate."

The outgoing president's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had on Friday called on Malawi's Electoral Commission (MEC) to annul the results of the second vote and declare a third election.

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