Mutharika leads in MEC’s official results: Malawi presidential race

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Presidential candidate Peter Mutharika is leading with 42 percent in the 30 percent of total votes from the polling stations so far sent to the national tally centre which was announced by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Friday night.

According to the results, Mutharika is leading with 683,621 votes representing 42 percent seconded by President Joyce Banda’s People’s Party with 372,101 votes representing 23 percent.

Lazarus Chakwera of the opposition Malawi Congress Party is coming third with 289,145 votes representing 18 percent. Atupele Muluzi of the United Democratic Front has come fourth with 269,250 votes representing 16 percent.

The DPP presidetial ticket: Peter Mutharika (left) and  runningmate  Saulos Chilima

The DPP presidetial ticket: Peter Mutharika (left) and runningmate Saulos Chilima

Mark Katsonga of People’s Progressive Movement has 6,346 vote representing while Kamuzu Chibambo of People Transformation movement has 5,996 votes and none of the other five candidates for the presidency had more than 1%.

The Commission’s chairperson Maxon Mbendera emphasised these were provisional figures and urged Malawians to wait patiently for the final outcome.

Mbendera said the commission is expected to release another results once the total vote count from polling stations reaches 70 percent.

An unofficial result released by local radio station Zodiak Broadcasting Station has put Mutharika a likely winner of the polls.

However, President Banda, Chakwera and Muluzi disputed the unofficial results claiming the electoral process was fraught with irregularities.

The three are calling for an audit of the vote results, citing “serious irregularities.”

The poll has been plagued by problems from the outset, with voting materials turning up hours late and ballot papers being sent to the wrong end of the country, infuriating voters.

Organizers had to extend voting in some urban areas into a second day and initial counting was held up by a lack of lighting and generators at polling stations.

Mbendera said the delays in announcing the results were caused because outcomes were having to be transmitted by fax instead of email. He refused to be pinned down on when the winner would be announced.

MEC chair who is also Supreme Court of Appeal judge said the law required the result to be announced within eight days of the 20 May election.

Mbendera said the commission had received 135 complaints of irregularities, which it was investigating before announcing the results.

“We’re committed to a process that’s accurate and transparent. As far as we know, polling was free and fair in 99% of the centres, and both local and international observers have commended the process,” he said.

The MEC abandoned its digital results platform on Wednesday after reports of hackers breaking into its computers.

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