Malawi opposition seeks president’s removal

Africa

Malawi’s former ruling party turned opposition wants last year’s election nullified saying it was presided over by an electoral management body that was illegally constituted.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has filed a lawsuit in court asking for the removal of office of President Lazarus Chakwera.

In recent weeks the Malawi High Court has declared that four commissioners of the Malawi Electoral Commissioner (MEC) who presided over the elections, illegally held their positions.

Malawi law provides that electoral commissioners must be appointed on recommendation of political parties that secure at least one-tenth of the national vote in parliamentary polls and that each party represented on the commission must have a maximum of three representatives.

Only two political, former President Peter Mutharika’s DDP and President Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP), achieved the threshold but Mutharika appointed four from his party and two from MCP.

According to the high court, the four DPP appointees were illegally appointed and nullified their appointments.

Though it has ruled that the nullification of the appointments should not have a bearing on how valid the elections are, the DPP contends that elections presided over by commissioners declared to have been illegally elected cannot be valid.

the party also wants all parliamentarians and councillors elected in by-elections held within the past year nullified on the same grounds.

Mutharika lost to President Chakwera in 23 June 2020 repeat elections following the court nullifying the 2019 polls.

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