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Malawi media gives Chakwera a 55% lead in presidential race against Mutharika

If Lazarus Chakwera does win, it would mean a dramatic reversal of the previous discredited result that handed the presidency to President Peter Mutharika.

Malawi’s main opposition Malawi Congress Party, MCP, Leader Lazarus Chakwera who is leading the Tonse Alliance in the fresh presidential elections due on 23 June 2020 arrives at Mtandire locations in the suburb of the capital Lilongwe to hold his final rally, 20 June 2020. Picture: AFP.

BLANTYRE - Malawi’s state and private media on Wednesday gave opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera a comfortable 55% lead in its presidential election re-run, with nearly three-quarters of votes counted, but there was still no official tally.

The state-owned Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and private media all had Chakwera with 55% or more, with President Peter Mutharika at 40%.

At a news conference late on Wednesday, Electoral Commission chairperson Chifundo Kachale urged Malawians to be patient and await the official results, which he said were taking time because they wanted to get “a credible record.”

“We are doing it manually. We’ll use records from district tally centres and district commissioners, not social media. Our appeal to Malawians is to be patient,” Kachale said.

If Chakwera does win, it would mean a dramatic reversal of the previous discredited result which handed the presidency to Mutharika. Some in the main city Blantyre and other parts of the country were already erupting into celebration.

Tuesday’s vote has been seen as a test of the ability of African courts to tackle ballot fraud and restrain presidential power, ever since Malawi’s judiciary infuriated Mutharika in February by overturning the result of last year’s poll. His disputed win also triggered months of street protests.

Mutharika has complained of violence in opposition strongholds in central Malawi, and questioned whether the result would be credible. His party has lodged a complaint about violence in opposition strongholds in central Malawi, but it is not clear if they will dispute the result if he loses.