Malawi presidency to appeal court ruling overturning poll result

Malawi's President Arthur Peter Mutharika speaks at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Malawi’s presidency on Wednesday said it would appeal a court ruling overturning the election result that returned Peter Mutharika to power, saying that it cannot be allowed to stand.

Presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalirani said the presidency had assembled papers for the appeal against the ruling.

“The ruling by (the) … court cannot be allowed to stand … it will create a lot of problems in the country’s jurisprudence,” Kalirani said in a statement.

“It is a great miscarriage of justice.”

The Constitutional Court stunned Malawians on Monday when it annulled the May 2019 presidential vote that declared Mutharika a winner. The court cited “widespread, systematic and grave” irregularities, which included results sheets with sections blotted out or altered with correction fluid, and it ordered a re-run.

Mutharika, Malawi president since 2014, won a close election with a 38.57% share of the vote, with opposition party leader Lazarus Chakwera getting 35.41% and Deputy President Saulos Chilima, who had formed his own party, achieving 20.24%

In a unanimous decision, a panel of five judges ordered that a new presidential vote be held within 150 days, upholding complaints from Chakwera, the president’s main rival, and Chilima.

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