Political analysts have said the election of the country’s President for the next five years in a court-ordered fresh presidential election on Tuesday remains unpredictable.
Although there are three presidential candidates, Tuesday’s election is largely between the 80-year-old President Peter Mutharika and his main rival, 66-year-old Lazarus Chakwera.
Analysts Sheriff Kaisi said both candidates have massive supporters from rural areas where over 80% of the population lives. Mutharika comes from the southern region, while Chakwera comes from the central region.
“Probably, the upper hand will be the one who will control the regions, for example,” Kaisi said in quotes reported by Voice of America. “So, the one who controls that larger part of the regions definitely is going to carry the day.”
Lilongwe-based political scientist Godfrey Pumbwa said the game change will be when more registered voters will turn up this year, including those who did not vote last year.
In the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, the 6 859 570 registered voters, 1 753 587 people or 25.56 percent did not turn up and 74 719 votes were null and void.
Mustafa Hussein, a political analyst who teaches at Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said political parties and the court proceedings have played a big role to raise awareness on the importance of fresh presidential elections and could see many who did not vote in last year’s elections turn up to cast their ballots.
In the annulled election, Mutharika got 1.9 million votes, representing 38.57 percent and Chakwera polled 1.7 million (35.41 percent).
However, theb fresh presidential election will be the first in the country to be determined using the 50-percent-plus-one system following the court’s interpretation of majority in Section 80(2) of the Constitution. Previously, winners were declared President based on simple majority or first-past-the-post.
This forced Mutharika, leader of the ruling Democratic Progress Party (DPP), to form an alliance with the United Democratic Front (UDF), whose leader Atupele Muluzi came in fourth with 5% of the vote during the annulled polls.
Chakwera, leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), formed an alliance with nine other opposition parties, including the UTM, whose leader, Vice President Saulos Chilima, got 20% of the vote in the annulled election.
MCP and UTM Party—who challenged the May 21 2019 presidential results, want to prove through this election that the previous Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) robbed them of clear victory through “irregularities”.
On the other hand, the DPP want to prove that they “won” the May 21 2019 presidential election fair and square.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :