Malawi’s electoral commission declared opposition alliance leader Lázaro Chakwera the winner of the country’s presidential election.
Saturday night’s announcement came four days after the Malawians returned to the polls almost five months after the constitutional court struck down the results of a May 2019 vote on wrongdoing.
Chakwera, 65, obtained the required majority, with 58.57 percent of Tuesday’s vote, the electoral commission said, hitting incumbent Peter Mutharika. Chakwera won the election for a five-year term as president of the nation of 18 million people.
“My victory is a victory for democracy and justice. My heart is full of joy,” said Chakwera after his victory, which sparked nightly celebrations on the streets of the capital, Lilongwe, his fortress.
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In power since 2014, Mutharika was previously declared the winner of last year’s vote with 38.57 percent, ahead of Chakwera who had 35.41 percent and former vice president Saulos Chillima, with 20.24 percent.
But Chakwera and his current partner Chillima rejected the results of that election and asked the court to annul the result and order a new execution.
The annulled result of February 3 also forced a change in the electoral system, changing a system of “first step for the position” by a system in which the winner has to receive more than 50 percent of the votes.
Mutharika, 79, said Saturday that there had been irregularities in the vote, including violence and intimidation against his party’s electoral supervisors, but the electoral commission dismissed the complaint. The opposition has denied the allegations.
There were no independent reports of irregularities, and there were no international observation missions this time due to COVID-19. Local observers have said the survey was free and fair.
Al Jazeera and news agencies