Fresh polls for Malawi as constitutional court cancels presidential election

“We hold that the first respondent (Mutharika) was not duly elected as president of Malawi on May 21, 2019,” ruled judge president Healey Potani.
Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika looks on during the official launch of his Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) manifesto and election campaign on April 7, 2019, at Kamuzu Institute for Sports in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, ahead of next month’s elections where he will seek a second and final term in office. – Mutharika, who has been in power since 2014, will face tough opposition, including from his own deputy Saulos Chilima, at the May 21 election. (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)

Malawi’s highest court on Monday ordered fresh elections after nullifying the results of the polls that re-elected President Peter Mutharika in May, citing widespread irregularities and stating that he ought not to have been returned as duly elected.

Malawi’s constitutional court in a landmark judgment called for the electoral commission to organise fresh elections.

“We hold that the first respondent (Mutharika) was not duly elected as president of Malawi on May 21, 2019,” ruled judge president Healey Potani.

“We hereby nullify the results of the presidential elections,” he added, ordering fresh polls.

Constitutional Court Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda had earlier alleged that unnamed individuals attempted to bribe court judges over their ruling on a petition submitted by Malawi Congress Party leader Lazarus Chakwera as well as United Transformation Movement president Saulos Chilima to challenge the poll results, according to APA news agency.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is investigating the complaint against President Mutharika’s government.

Last August, Malawi’s Supreme Court of Appeal rejected an appeal demanding dismissal of the case challenging the presidential election results.

A panel of Supreme Court judges led by Nyirenda rejected the appeal by Mutharika and the Electoral Commission to dismiss the election petition case which the two opposition leaders brought before the high court.

The case had last year sparked violent protests across Malawi.

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