Top Malawi court upholds poll rerun, rejects president's appeal

Malawi court upholds poll rerun, rejects president’s appeal

Malawi’s top court on Friday rejected President Peter Mutharika’s bid to overturn a landmark ruling quashing his controversial re-election, paving the way for a rerun in July.

Mutharika had garnered just 38.5 percent of the annulled May 21 vote to win a second term but the Constitutional Court nullified the results, citing “grave” and “widespread” irregularities, including the use of correction fluid on ballot papers.

Both Mutharika and Malawi’s national poll body (MEC) had appealed the ruling and Mutharika had accused the court of bias.

Malawi top Court throws out Mutharika's poll annulment appeal ...

Mutharika’s re-election had spawned widespread protests for months and the military had to intervene as confrontations between police and protesters turned violent.

“We have listened to the petitions by the two parties and we dismiss both the appeals in their entirety,” said Supreme Court Justice Frank Kapanda.

In his appeal, Mutharika said the judges had “erred in law”.

“We find that the first appellant (Mutharika) was not duly elected to the office of the president,” said Kapanda, one of seven judges who read out the ruling in the capital Lilongwe.

“The conduct of the electoral commission left a lot to be desired,” Kapanda said. “There was a lack of seriousness and incompetence.”

Justice Lovemore Chikopa condemned the use Tippex to alter results as an “unlawful and gross irregularity”.

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