Malawi facing fresh election in May after court rejects 2019 vote

Wednesday February 26 2020

President Peter Mutharika

Contested. President Peter Mutharika 

By AFP

Malawi's parliament has cleared the way for fresh polls in May after a top court overturned last year's elections results that returned Peter Mutharika to power.

In a landmark decision, the Constitutional Court ruled on February 3 that last May's election was fraught with widespread irregularities -- especially the "massive" use of correction fluid on tally sheets.

Parliament documents seen by AFP on Tuesday showed that under the new law passed on Monday, fresh elections will be held during the third week of May.

Malawi's elections are traditionally held on a Tuesday, and it follows that polling will take place on May 19.

"Fresh presidential election shall be held in the third week of May, 2020," read the bill.

In another change, lawmakers decreed that a candidate will now need to secure at least 50 percent of votes cast to become president, reversing a previous decision to reject the bill.

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Until now, a president was elected through the first-past-the-post system that had been in place since the country attained democracy in 1994.

Mutharika was narrowly elected by 38.5 percent of the voters in May's controversial elections, which prompted the Constitutional Court to order a review of the law.

Meanwhile, Mutharika said on Tuesday that his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was partnering with the opposition United Democratic Party led by Atupele Muluzi, the son of former president Bakili Muluzi.

Muluzi's party came fourth in last year's election with just 4.67 percent of votes.

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