Malawi to begin first phase of voter registration after 2019 presidential election annulment

Photo: Patrick Meinhardt, AFP Malawi begins voter registration today for a new election on July 2. The new vote became

Voters head to the polls in Malawi presidential elections

Photo: Patrick Meinhardt, AFP

Malawi begins voter registration today for a new election on July 2. The new vote became necessary after the results of the 2019 presidential election were annulled.

Malawi’s May election was marred by allegations of voting irregularities, leaving the victor, President Peter Mutharika, without a clear mandate to lead. Following a ruling in February, Malawi judges concluded that new elections would have to take place by July 3, and that the first-past-the-post voting system is unconstitutional and must change. This is only the second election result to be challenged in Africa (after Kenya’s 2017 presidential vote) and Mutharika plans to appeal the ruling to Malawi’s Supreme Court on April 15.

Regardless of the court’s verdict, Malawians expect to have their voices heard in a new election. If the court upholds the president’s appeal, there will be widespread protest within Malawi from opposition supporters. If the appeal is rejected, the country will have a little less than three months to run a new election with a different voting system that all parties find fair, but it’s unlikely that the nation has the resources to effectively transition to a new electoral system in that time frame.

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