The Constitutional Court in Malawi has rejected an appeal, brought by President Peter Mutharika and Malawi’s electoral commission, to suspend the judgement it made last week annulling May’s presidential election in the southern African nation.
Since last week, opposition supporters in Malawi have been celebrating after a panel of five top judges annulled the results of last May’s presidential election in the country.
Many of them said it was a victory for democracy after the two main losing candidates argued in court that there had been irregularities in the vote that saw President Peter Mutharika narrowly elected for a second term.
On Thursday, the court rejected an appeal by the incumbent president and dismissed the electoral body’s claim that another election would be too expensive.
Judge Dingiswayo Madise said democracy was costly and the rights of citizens were paramount.
The court’s initial ruling invalidated Mutharika’s narrow victory on the grounds of widespread polling irregularities. It has ordered a re-run of the poll within five months and directed Malawi’s parliament to consider recalling the current electoral commission to “ensure smooth conduct of fresh elections”.
President Peter Mutharika was declared the winner of last year’s poll with 38.6% of the vote. That was barely 159,000 more votes than his nearest rival, Lazarus Chakwera.