Head of electoral commission says presidential election has been “free and fair” though president nullified it.
Peter Mutharika, the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party and brother of Malawi’s former leader, has been declared the winner of the country’s disputed presidential election after winning 36.4 percent of votes cast.
The electoral commission said Mutharika came ahead of Lazarus Chakwera, who won 27.8 percent, and outgoing president Joyce Banda who won 20.2 percent.
Banda has reportedly accepted the election results despite earlier this week stating the poll was null and void due to fraud.
The results were announced minutes after a court refused to grant an extension for a recount that had been sought by Chakwera.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Blantyre, said Mutharika was expected to be inaugurated early on Saturday and forgo the presidential transition period, in order to avoid facing contention from his opponents.
On Thursday, Maxon Mbendera, the head of the country’s electoral commission, said that the presidential elections were held in a free, fair, and credible manner although anomalies were discovered at over 4,000 polling stations.
Malawi was forced to deploy the army on the first day of voting last week after delays in opening the polls led voters to riot and burn down at least two stations.
Supporters of Banda have held a series of protests alleging that the vote was rigged in favour of Mutharika.
The violence marred an election that was seen as the first true test of Banda’s scandal-tainted rule.