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Malawi ruling party warns it will reject opposition win

THE ruling party in Malawi has warned it will reject the outcome of a court-ordered election rerun as unofficial results showed the opposition taking a commanding lead.

Lazarus Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party, which is competing in the ballot with Vice President Saulos Chilima’s United Transformation Party, garnered 2.4 million votes, compared with 1.6 million for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, according to numbers compiled by the Blantyre-based Times Radio and other broadcasters.

President Peter Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party will not accept the result because their monitors were assaulted and some even abducted, spokesman Nicholas Dausi told reporters.

Atupele Muluzi, Mutharika’s running mate and leader of the United Democratic Front, said the unofficial result was “illegitimate” according to a post on his Facebook account.

“If Chakwera had won the election fair and square I would have congratulated him, but unfortunately that is not the case,” he wrote. “I will not accept the outcome.”

Vote counting is complete and results are being sent to the main tally center in Blantyre, the commercial capital. The Malawi Electoral Commission will release the official result only after resolving all issues raised by parties, Chairman Chifundo Kachale told reporters.

Wednesday’s vote was held after Malawi’s Supreme Court of Appeal, the top judicial authority, last month upheld the Constitutional Court’s scrapping of a chaotic May 2019 vote that handed Mutharika a second five-year term.

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It also ordered that the successful candidate must win an outright majority rather than the most votes as in the past. – Bloomberg

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