After days of hotly contested elections, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) last Saturday declared 74 year old law professor and ex-cabinet Minister, Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) as the new President of Malawi. The May 20th election was shrouded in a heap of controversy after incumbent, Joyce Banda, tried to annul a vote she said was marred by rigging. A claim that was overruled by the country’s High Court.
Notwithstanding his acceptance of some “anomalies” in the process, the head of the MEC, Maxon Mbendera, called the election “trouble-free”, adding that the people had expressed their will.
Peter Mutharika, who is the brother of the late president Bingu wa Mutharika, obtained 36.4% of the vote, according to the electoral commission while Lazarus Chakwera’s led Malawi Congress Party polled 27.8% of the vote to come second, leaving Mrs. Banda, who ascended the presidency after the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika, at third with 20.2% of the total vote cast. This year’s election has widely been described as Malawi's closest-fought poll in 20 years.