A Supreme Court in Malawi on Friday upheld an earlier court ruling that annulled President Mutharika’s election victory last year. A new election will now be held on July 2. Three candidates, including President Mutharika, filed their nomination papers last week.
In February, the Constitutional Court cited widespread irregularities when it annulled the vote that returned Mutharika to power last May. Mutharika, 79, and the electoral commission later appealed the Constitutional Court’s decision.
In its ruling on Friday, the Supreme Court said, “The various breaches undermined the duties of the Malawi Electoral Commission and grossly undermined rights of voters. None of the candidates obtained a majority.”
It added that the electoral commission should not have appealed, as doing so showed it was taking sides.
Judge Kapanda said “The conduct of the electoral commission left a lot to be desired.” There was a lack of seriousness and incompetence.”
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Furthermore, Kapanda said “We find that the first appellant [Mutharika] was not duly elected to the office of the president”. Frank Kapanda is one of seven judges who read out the ruling in the capital Lilongwe.
New Election Nomination filed
On Thursday, Mutharika filed his nomination papers for the July rerun alongside his new running mate Atupele Muluzi. Muluzi is the 41-year old son of former President Bakili Muluzi, who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004.
“Together we will be the bridge to the future, together we will win this election,” the president told supporters in the city of Blantyre.
Only three of 10 expected candidates have presented credentials to run in the upcoming poll.
Opposition figures Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima also filed their nomination papers on Wednesday.
Mutharika was declared the winner of the disputed elections with 38.5 percent of the vote. Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party came a close second, garnering 35 percent. While Chilima’s United Transformation Movement came third with 20 percent.
The two parties have joined forces under Chakwera’s banner to maximise their chances of unseating the president.