Though a specific date remains unknown, Malawi’s Constitutional Court is expected to rule on the validity of the controversial May 21 presidential elections.
The state electoral commission declared incumbent President Peter Mutharika the victor over opposition candidate Lazarus Chakwera by a slim margin—only 159,000 votes, or about 3%. The election was marked by irregularities that include evidence of tampering, such as results sheets marked with corrective fluid.
Since the vote, Malawi has been plagued by demonstrations demanding the resignation of Mutharika and electoral head Jane Ansah. Earlier this month, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Lilongwe in response to allegations that there were attempts made to bribe judges overseeing the opposition’s legal challenge to the election’s results.
It is unclear how the Constitutional Court will decide on the case, but it is unlikely that Mutharika will resign. Should the court rule the vote invalid, new elections are likely to be called for, albeit under protest by the government. If the results are upheld, expect heightened, possibly violent, protests throughout the country in response to perceived endemic corruption.
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Max is Foreign Brief's Chief Executive Officer. A Latin America specialist, Max is an expert in regional political and economic trends, focusing particularly on the Southern Cone.