Malawians on Tuesday morning started casting their votes in the country’s historic court-sanctioned fresh presidential election with Vice President who is running mate for Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential hopeful Lazarus Chakwera casting his vote at St. Augustine Parish on Area 18 Lilongwe early where he expressed satisfaction with the voting setup and process.
Polling stations opened at 6 am local time (0500GMT) and will close at 6 pm local time (1700GMT).
Mutharika seeks a second five-year term. He faces two other candidates —main opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera and little-known Peter Kuwani — in a race that is too close to call for Mutharka and Chakwera.
The 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.
Speaking after casting his vote, Chilima, said unline last year when his name went missing this time around he had no hurdles and that all looks to be a credible process.
“This to me simply means the system us working and I am happy to have exercised my right to vote,” he said while accompaned by his wife Mary.
“I have been here for less than five minutes and I am done. So far so good and we can’t create stories everything seems well.” he added.
Chilima said he hopes everything will work smoothy and that there will be no ‘electoral disputes at the end.
“Last year’s elections were a lesson to Malawi,” said Chilima.
In the elections, President Mutharika, who wants a second term, is up against Chakwera, who heads a nine-party opposition coalition, the Tonse Alliance, and has the backing of former President Joyce Banda as well as the country’s vice-president, Saulos Chilima, as his running mate.
For Tuesday’s election, Malawi Electoral Commission is using last year’s voters roll, in which about 6.8 million Malawians registered to vote.
There are about 5,000 voting stations open countrywide. So far voter turn-out, has been relatively high.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :