President Peter Mutharika who is seeking a second term and is being challenged by his deputy, Saulos Chilima, the leader of biggest opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Lazarus Chakwer were locked in a neck and neck race Tuesday as exit polls showed no clear winner in an election that was branded watershed.
The nearly seven million registered voters went to the polls on Tuesday, casting their votes to elect a president, members of parliament and local government councillors.
Nyasa Times correspondents with help of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) stringers, conducted an exit poll covering Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba, Mangochi, Mulanje, Chikwawa, Ntcheu, Kasungu, Mzuzu, Mzimba and Karonga.
Immediately after voters exited the polling stations, they shared why they preferred specific candidates.
Most voters considered development agenda, cost of living, education and unemployment while deciding on who to vote for.
Voters feel unemployment and corruption are key issues the President should address immediately after elections.
An election exit poll is one that is conducted immediately after voters have exited the polling stations with an objective of finding out how the respondents voted but more specifically, understand respondents demographics, voters experience at the polling centre, main reasons why they voted for a particular candidate and understand when they made a decision to vote for their favorite candidates.
President Mutharika is seen – in the Nyasa Times exit polls – to be way head of the Chakwera and Chilima and chances are he will most certainly be given a new mandate to govern.
However, the exit polls are notoriously imprecise, meaning the final results could still swing in either direction.
Malawi’s electoral commission (MEC) has since pledged to deliver a credible results with its chief, Dr. Jane Ansah asking the 6.9 million registered voters to trust that their will will be respected.