Malawians vote in presidential election, await results

Malawian presidential candidate Arthur Peter Mutharika (centre) casts his vote at a polling station in Thyolo, Malawi on June 23, 2020. (Xinhua)

Malawians on Tuesday went to the poll to elect a president following the court’s annulment of the May 2019 election on February 3.

Incumbent president Peter Mutharika, 79, faces opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera, 65, in the much-awaited election precedented by a series of violent protests since June 2019.

Voting commenced at 6 a.m. local time in 5,002 polling centers across the country where 6.8 million Malawians who registered in the May 2019 election were supposed to cast their vote.

Mutharika was captured casting his vote at Goliati Village in his home district, Thyolo, on Tuesday morning while Chakwera and his running mate, Saulos Chilima, who is also the Vice President of the country cast their votes in the capital Lilongwe.

The voting process has been reported to be generally peaceful with COVID-19 preventive measures such as social distancing and handwashing observed in all the 5,002 polling centres.

Counting of the votes is expected to commence immediately after the official closing of polling at 6 p.m. local time and the final results are expected anytime thereafter.

Meanwhile, new Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson, Justice Chifundo Kachale, has assured the public that the commission “shall strive to protect the integrity of the election”.