- "The commission declares that Lazarus Chakwera, having attained 58.57 percent of the vote, has been duly elected as the president of Malawi."
- "This is a win for Malawians, it is a win for democracy, a win for justice," said a happy Chakwera.
- Mutharika, the loser in the election, angrily conceded defeat.
Malawi’s opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera was officially declared the winner of the country’s repeat presidential election on Saturday. Chakwera got 58.57 percent of the vote, and thus the required majority, said the head of the local elections commission, Chifundo Kachale.
“The commission declares that Lazarus Chakwera, having attained 58.57 percent of the vote, has been duly elected as the president of Malawi,” Kachale told journalists. The nation’s incumbent president, Peter Mutharika, emerged second with 39.92% of the vote, while the third candidate, Peter Dominico Kuwani, received less than one percent of the vote.
“This is a win for Malawians, it is a win for democracy, a win for justice,” said a happy Chakwera after he was declared the election’s victor. “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.”
Following the announcement, a jubilant crowd of the Chakwera-led party’s supporters gathered for song and dance, and displayed fireworks all over the streets of the Nation’s capital, Lilongwe, and across the country.
The election had to be repeated after the May 2019 presidential election, which had put Mutharika ahead, was canceled due to massive irregularities and electoral fraud. More than four million people were called to vote again on Tuesday.
The counting of the ballot papers took four days. The 65-year-old election winner, Chakwera, who has led the Malawi Congress Party since 2013, promised to build a new Malawi for all Malawians.
Mutharika, the loser in the election, questioned the result before the publication and spoke of irregularities. “We expected an election without irregularities,” an angry Mutharika told reporters in Blantyre before the official results were announced.
“Sadly, as all Malawians have seen, this election is the worst in Malawi’s history of our Elections,” he said. “We believe most of the results that were sent to MEC are not a true reflection of the people.” He reiterated.
Earlier Saturday, Mutharika had argued that the election re-run had been flawed, citing violence and intimidation against monitors from his DPP party. “We have no further comment to make,” Mutharika’s spokesman Mgeme Kalilani told AFP after the announcement of the results. “The statement we made earlier today is adequate,” he said.
The Mutharika-led Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had on Friday implored Malawi’s Electoral Commission (MEC) to cancel the results of the second vote and call for a third election.
At the beginning of February, the Constitutional Court issued a spectacular ruling, stating that Mutharika had “not been validly elected.” The court found that election officials manipulated Tipp-Ex ballots, and only a quarter of the votes were checked.
The decision was appealed by Mutharika, but the Supreme Court of Appeals went ahead and upheld the nullification of his irregular win in May this year. That set the stage for the new election, which has produced Chakwera as the president-elect.
As per the disputed may last year’s election, the 79-year-old Mutharika, who has been in power since 2014, had been re-elected with 38.6 percent of the vote. Chakwera had been placed second, with 35.4 percent. The two men separated by a mere 159,000 votes.