Malawi will in June host an African Union (AU) summit which will hold a run-off vote to choose a new chairman for the AU’s influential executive Commission.
The first election of the post ended in deadlock Monday between South African Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who sought to unseat outgoing chairman Jean Ping from Gabon.
The chair of the commission runs the 55-member body’s day-to-day affairs.
Southern African countries had agreed to support Zuma but Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika kept his cards close to the chest as he refused to indicate to whom he would support.
Reports say incumbent Ping held a slender lead in three rounds of voting but that neither candidate secured the required two-thirds majority as the vote proceeded behind closed doors on the second and final day of the AU summit in the Ethiopian capital.
Entrance was limited to presidents and two delegates per country.
Zambian President Michael Sata is quoted by AFP saying a fresh poll will be held in Malaw in June during the next AU summit.
“We went for an election and none of the two candidates emerged as a winner,” Sata said.
According to reports, there had been intense campaigning ahead of the vote, overshadowing the two-day summit on intra-African trade.
“If elected… I pledge to spare no effort in building on the work of those African women and men who want to see an African Union that is a formidable force striving for a united, free, truly independent, better Africa,” 63-year-old Dlamini-Zuma had said in a pamphlet distributed at the summit.
South Africa said at the weekend that it was optimistic that Dlamini-Zuma, who was married to President Jacob Zuma until 1998, could defeat Ping.
But Ping, 69, had said that he was confident of re-election, counting on support from French-speaking West and Central Africa countries.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :