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01.06.2019 Malawi

Second defeated Malawi candidate wants presidential vote anulled

By AFP
Chilima quit the ruling party last year.  By GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (AFP/File)
JUN 1, 2019 MALAWI
Chilima quit the ruling party last year. By GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (AFP/File)

A second defeated candidate in Malawi's presidential election on Saturday launched legal proceedings seeking the annulment of last week's vote won by incumbent Peter Mutharika on grounds of fraud. annulled

Mutharika, leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won the presidential election with 38.57 percent of the vote. Opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera came second with 35.41 percent, while former vice-president Saulos Chilima got 20.24 percent, according to official results.

Both defeated candidates have alleged fraud. Chakwera has already launched a court battle to have the vote scrapped. Chilima said he would also make a legal challenge.

"We want the court to decide our case where we are challenging the presidential results," Chilima, Mutharika's estranged former deputy, told AFP.

"In fact, based on the irregularities that we have submitted, we would like the court to nullify the presidential results so that we can start all over again," he said.

Malawi has a "winner-takes-all" system, and in 2014 Mutharika also narrowly beat Chakwera, a former evangelist.

Mutharika came to power vowing to tackle corruption after the "Cashgate" scandal a year earlier revealed massive looting from the coffers of the poor southern African country which is heavily dependent of foreign aid.

But he has faced corruption allegations himself.

Chilima, a youthful 46-year-old, was Mutharika's running mate in 2014 and became vice-president but quit the ruling party last year and set up the United Transformation Movement (UTM) to contest the election.

Chakwera's Malawi Congress Party (MCP) had obtained a brief court injunction to halt the release of the results, claiming "very glaring irregularities".

The party said that results sheets were covered in correction fluid and some sheets from polling stations far apart bore the same handwriting.

But the injunction was lifted on Monday and Mutharika was declared the winner hours later.

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