Leader of the opposition Malawi Congress Party, Lazarus Chakwera, on Saturday obtained a court injunction to stop the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) from announcing preliminary results of the country’s 21 May general elections.High Court Justice Charles Mkandawire, who approved the order to restrain MEC from further announcing the figures which saw President Peter Mutharika leading his rival Chakwera by 40 percent to 35 percent, respectively, of the counted ballots, said that he had granted the latter permission to apply for a judicial review.
This judicial review application should be made to a judge in an open court promptly, Mkandawire directed the MCP.
Mkandawire said: “That until a further order of the court, the announcement of the presidential elections results is stayed until the results from Nsanje, Chikwawa, Mangochi, Blantyre, Zomba, Mulanje, Chitipa, Rumphi, Karonga and Nkhata Bay Districts are verified through a transparent recounting of the ballot papers in the presence of representatives of political parties which contested in the elections.”
In fact, MEC on Friday said that it would not release the further results of the exercise till some 147 complaints filed by various stakeholders, including political parties, were resolved in order to give an accurate count of the votes.
The opposition MCP’s lawyer, Titus Mvalo, did not explain why his clients decided to stop the announcements now in spite of MEC’s assurances that it would first wait for the resolution of the disputes.
Votes of the two leaders – Mutharika and Chakwera – are said “to be too close to call” in the words of political observers here.
The pollster is expected to hold a press briefing at 1600 GMT to give latest progress in its work since Friday’s press briefing.