Malawians Celebrate Constitutional Court Ruling in Favor of Presidential Re-election
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Malawians Celebrate Constitutional Court Ruling in Favor of Presidential Re-election

This is the first time an election has ever been legally challenged since Malawi obtained its independence from the British in 1964.

Yesterday, Malawi's Constitutional Court ruled in favour of a presidential re-election this year after finding "widespread irregularities" with the 2019 May election which saw President Peter Mutharika re-elected, the BBC reports.

Many Malawians have praised the recent ruling and welcomed the judges' decision to have fresh elections in five months' time. The landmark ruling is the first time that an election has been legally challenged—and successfully so—since the Southern African country obtained independence from the British in 1964.

Last year's May presidential election results caused a national upheaval following allegations of vote rigging through altering ballot papers, according to Foreign Policy. Current President Mutharika subsequently won 38.6 percent of the vote followed closely by opposition leaders Lazarus Chakwera securing 35 percent and former Vice President Saulos Chilima securing 20 percent. Chakwera and Chilima cried foul and led the charge to appeal the election results released by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

Massive protests ensued as a result and have been intensifying in magnitude over the past few months although interrupted by intermittent bans on protests by the courts.

Part of the court ruling provided by Aljazeera reads as follows:

"The position of this court is that the widespread use of Tippex greatly undermined the integrity of the elections so much that applying the qualitative approach, the argument by the second respondent (Malawi Electoral Commission) that the valid vote count was not affected and that no monitor came forward to raise a complaint does not matter and this argument is thrown out."

The court added that in the interim, Mutharika would remain president.

Read some of the reactions to the court's decision on social media below: