Court rules MEC should declare winner of Malawi presidential polls

The Malawi High Court has ruled that Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) can do the recount of the votes but within prescribed time in the electoral laws which expires Friday and therefore the outcome should be declared.

Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda made a ruling Friday evening in Blantyre.

“I cannot hesitate to give positive direction for MEC to conduct physical audit.”

However, Justice Nyirenda in his determination, said the recount has to be done in eight days after the voting – which expires Friday.

Meet the spokespersons: PP's Ken Msonda, DPP's Nicholous Dausi and MCP's Jessie Kabwila at the court
Meet the spokespersons: PP’s Ken Msonda, DPP’s Nicholous Dausi and MCP’s Jessie Kabwila at the court

But he indicated the court cannot “ go outside of its power and extend power when there is no rule/law to do so.”

The judge did not grant extension of recount therefore pushing MEC declare official results of the May 20th presidential election.

“My duty as a judge is not to change the law,” he said.

With about a third of the votes counted, opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Peter Mutharika is leading with 42 percent of the unofficial tally.

Malawi Congress Party presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera, who is in second place, had gone to court along with third place candidate President Joyce Banda to demand a recount.

Meanwhile, Malawi’s seven commissioner in the body have signed a communique saying they would not release the results until a physical vote audit citing serious anomalies.

Last week’s poll had been plagued by problems from the outset, with voting materials turning up hours late and ballot papers being sent to the wrong parts of the country.

Organisers had to extend voting in some urban areas for a second day and initial counting was delayed by power outages and a lack of generators at polling stations.

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