Malawi’s presidential election re-run has been won by opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera, ousting outgoing President Peter Mutharika after a single five-year term, the Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Chifundo Kachale announced on Saturday night.Announcing the results of the poll that took place on Tuesday, Kachale said Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) got 2,604,043 votes or 58.6 percent of the ballots, thereby surpassing the legal requirement of 50 plus one percent to win the presidency.
“This means that the Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera is the duly elected president of the Republic of Malawi,” Kachale declared, amid applause from national flag-carrying party supporters at the National Tally Centre in the southern city of Blantyre.
“This win is for all of us,” Chakwera told reporters. “Those that voted for me and those who did not vote for me, know that I’m a servant for all of you.”
Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took 1,751,377 votes, the chair said.
A third presidential candidate, Peter Kuwani, took only 32,456 votes. The race had three contestants.
Chakwera teamed up with Saulos Chilli in this successful effort to dislodge the DPP from power. Chilima, who was the country’s Vice President, fell out with Mutharika a few years ago and formed his own opposition party, the United Transformation Movement (UTM).
Mutharika joined forces with United Democratic Front party leader Atupele Muluzi to fend off the opposition MCP-UTM Tonse Alliance threat of Chakwera and Chilima.
While the alliance waged a well-planned campaign, crossing the entire country, Mutharika-Muluzi’s lacklustre and disjointed campaign did not impress the voters, who complained of unfulfilled manifesto promises in the first five years of DPP rule.
The president-elect will be sworn-in on Sunday, the new Malawi leader’s officials told the press Saturday night.
Chakwera becomes Malawi’s sixth president since the late President Kamuzu Banda led the country to independence from Britain in 1964 under the MCP – which has now returned to power after 26 years in the political wilderness.