Malawi’s electoral commission (MEC) chief, Dr. Jane Ansah has called upon stakeholders including political parties to refrain from announcing premature results, pledging that the commission will start official declaration of results as soon as 20% of votes cast have been tallied.
Citizens went to the polls on Tuesday, casting their votes to elect a president, members of parliament and local government councillors.
President Peter Mutharika is seeking a second term, and is being challenged by his deputy, Saulos Chilima, and the leader of the country’s biggest opposition party, Lazarus Chakwera.
Incumbent overtakes opposition candidate with 30% of vote count left
The Malawi Electoral Commission, MEC, as at midday Thursday said it had so far received 75.81% of all results from polling stations.
So far: Incumbent president Peter Mutharika (DPP) had 1,436,877 (40.49%). Lazarus Chakwera (MCP) polled 1,257,853 (35.44%) with vice-president Saulos Chilima (UTM) having 651,124 (19.35%).
Collation restarted 10:00 local time after it was suspended on Wednesday evening. At the time the main opposition candidate Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party, MCP, was in the lead with 30% of vote count.
Opposition leader warns against rigging
Malawi’s opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera on Wednesday warned against attempts to rig the country’s election, claiming he was clearly leading in results so far tallied.
Early official results showed President Peter Mutharika and Chakwera were equal on about 37 percent of the vote with about one-third of polling centres counted after Tuesday’s election.
“So far the message is clear, we know that we have a tremendous lead,” he told a news conference at his house in Blantyre.
“No one is going to rig this election. Justice is going to prevail.”
Chakwera said his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was conducting its own count, even though local observers earlier declared the election largely free and fair.
“Those in power, I know you, you’re trying to tamper with elections,” Chakwera said, who came a narrow second in the 2014 election.
“I warn you, you will soon face the long arm of the law”.
Chakwera has campaigned on an anti-graft platform and has been credited with reviving the MCP.
Two months ago, he secured the high-profile support of former president Joyce Banda.