Results of the June 23 fresh presidential polls have started trickling in at the Main Tally Centre at College of Medicine Sports Complex in Blantyre, showing the two leading candidates in Malawi’s court-sanctioned fresh presidential election are in a tight race.
Mutharika (L) and Chakwera: Two horse race
Reports indicate that, so far, batch of results from Chiradzulu, Likoma Island and Mwanza have arrived.
Victory in the rerun will be determined by whoever garners more than 50 percent of the votes – a new threshold set by the constitution court and upheld by the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal.
Some 6.8 million people were asked to vote between President Peter Mutharika, main opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera and an underdog candidate, Peter Dominico Kuwani.
MEC chairperson Dr Chifundo Kachale told a news conference on Wednesday morning that they were yet to get any official results from Tuesday’s polls.
“We appeal to Malawians to maintain peace and calm as the vote-counting continues,” Kachale told a news conference in Blantyre.
He warned against an escalation of unofficial results circulating on social media, arguing that they have capacity to create tension.
With official results trickling in now, MEC has 8 days, has until July 3, to process them and also handled queries before announcing them.
Kachale says the commission will only announce results after dealing with all the complaints.
He said the Commission will be updating the nation when the first results have been received.
The Commission has allowed all contesting candidates to place up to 10 representatives at the main tally centre.
“The Commission will be sharing the results from the councils with them for crosschecking,” said Kachale, a judge of the High Court of Malawi.
“It is an honest expectation of the Commission that the party representantives at the National Tally Centre are ready and equipped for this role.
“Once the results from the councils are in, the Commission will immediately make copies for each party. The party representatives will be given up to 15 minutes to crosscheck or verify with what their colleagues had on the ground.
“Should they notice any irregularity they have the obligation to raise the issue with the Electoral Commission using appropriate channels that have been set. In the absence of any query, the Commission will proceed to finalise the result and display it,” he said.
Kachale stressed that a candidate wins an election when all votes are tallied and not that in a particular district or region or constituency.