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Updated Mar 24, 2020

Malawi’s Electoral Commission announced that a re-run of the country’s presidential election will be held on July 2, 2020. On February 3, Malawi’s Constitutional Court nullified the previous election that granted incumbent president Peter Mutharika a second term, citing widespread irregularities at polling stations, including the use of correction fluid on ballots. President Mutharika is challenging the ruling; his appeal will be heard by the Malawian Supreme Court starting on April 15.

The nullification of the vote on legal grounds was a precedent-setting first for Malawi. It is only the second African country to do so after the Kenyan Supreme Court nullified the results of its presidential election in September 2017.

 

Parishoners wash hands as a preventive measure against the spred of the COVID-19 coronavirus on the last day of full gatherings as a parish at the Saint Don Bosco Catholic Parish in Lilongwe on March 22, 2020. Malawian President Arthur Peter Mutharika, whose country has not yet registered a case of the COVID-19 coronavirus has also banned large social gatherings of more than a 100 people in funerals, churches, political rallies, parties and closed schools and colleges until the pandemic is contained.
Parishoners wash hands as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19 on the last day of full gatherings as a parish at the Saint Don Bosco Catholic Parish in Lilongwe on March 22, 2020. Malawian President Arthur Peter Mutharika has also banned large social gatherings of more than a 100 people in funerals, churches, political rallies, parties and closed schools and colleges until the pandemic is contained.

 

Why It Matters

President Mutharika last week fired Malawi army commander General Vincent Nundwe and his deputy Clement Namangale, only hours after vetoing parliamentary bills put before him to set up new elections. Mutharika also dissolved his cabinet over the weekend, which allows him to appoint members of the opposition United Democratic Front—his former party—to his cabinet in an attempt to form an electoral alliance.

These moves bode ill for a peaceful re-election. General Nundwe enjoys popular support, and his dismissal is particularly worrisome, as the Malawian army previously refused orders by the government to forcefully break up civil protests. The disputed election has led to a months-long political crisis that has brought thousands of Malawians on to the streets. A shake-up of the army command could mean that Mutharika expects the soldiers to act with more force against the protestors.

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/malawi-electoral-commission-announces-vote-run-july-2-200323112550368.html

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