Malawi ruling party cries foul after presidential vote re-run

BLANTYRE, MALAWI (AFP) – Malawi’s governing party is pushing for a third presidential election, citing irregularities and intimidation in a vote re-run where unofficial tallies show the opposition leader beating incumbent President Peter Mutharika.

Voters in the southern African country went to the polls on June 23 for the second time in 13 months after the Constitutional Court scrapped a presidential election over alleged fraud.

The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) called on Friday on the electoral commission to annul results collated so far and declare a third poll as it questioned the credibility of the vote re-run.

Unofficial tallies compiled by public broadcaster MBC gave opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera a dominant 60 per cent lead, with the incumbent Mutharika trailing back on 39 per cent.

DPP administrative secretary Francis Mphepo said in a statement: “We wish to highlight several incidents that may potentially affect the integrity and credibility of the presidential election results.”

The party listed polling stations from which their monitors were allegedly excluded and said over 1.5 million votes had been marred by “violence and intimidation”.

“There is no doubt that these irregularities and malpractices will substantially affect the results in one way or another,” Mphepo continued. “We therefore seek a declaration that the presidential election has been inconclusive.”

Soldiers keep a watchful eye at a polling station in Blantyre, Malawi. PHOTO: AP