Malawi Votes in Rerun as Ruling Party Threatens to Reject Result

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Malawi police arrested scores of people as the land-locked African nation held a court-ordered election rerun, with the ruling party threatening to reject the result.

A united opposition, led by Lazarus Chakwera, was seen as the front-runner in the vote that followed the annulment of President Peter Mutharika’s win last year because of widespread irregularities. Polls were due to close at 6 p.m. local time.

Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party warned it wouldn’t accept the outcome if the electoral commission didn’t address its complaints of violence, privately-owned MIJ Radio reported, citing DPP Organizing Secretary Francis Mphepo.

Earlier, Malawi Electoral Commission Chairman Chifundo Kachale confirmed some clashes and arrests, and called on the police to act against violence. Opposition supporters accosted officials of the ruling party who they claimed were planning to interfere with voting in the commercial capital, Blantyre. The DPP said the people were election monitors.

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

The election pits the DPP against an opposition headed by Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party and Saulos Chilima’s United Transformation Party.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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