Malawi’s president, Mutharika secures early lead in vote count

Mutharika has 40.49 per cent of the vote while opposition leader, Lazarus Chakwera had 35.44 per cent
Malawi's president, Mutharika secures early lead in vote count

Malawian President, Peter Mutharika has taken a five-percentage-point lead over his main rival in Wednesday’s elections, according to figures based on results from three-quarters of polling stations.

Mutharika had 40.49 per cent of the vote while opposition leader, Lazarus Chakwera had 35.44 per cent, according to the ongoing count by the Malawi Electoral Commission.

Mutharika, 78, who leads the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), campaigned for a second five-year term on his record of improving Malawi’s scant road and power infrastructure.

Chakwera on Wednesday warned of alleged attempts to rig the election, saying his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was conducting its own count that showed he was ahead.

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Malawi has around 6.8 million potential voters. Turnout data has not been published.

The third main candidate was Deputy President Saulos Chilima, with 18 per cent according to the partial results.

Malawi has a “winner-takes-all” system and in 2014 Mutharika won with just 36 per cent of the vote.

He first came to power vowing to tackle corruption after the “Cashgate” scandal erupted a year earlier, revealing massive looting from state coffers.

But his government has been dogged by several high-profile cases of corruption and nepotism.


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