Malawi MPs reject bill to amend presidential election law

2020-02-20 22:01
Malawi's President Peter Mutharika. (Amos Gumulira, AFP)

Malawi's President Peter Mutharika. (Amos Gumulira, AFP)

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Malawi lawmakers on Thursday rejected a bill that would have meant a president could only be re-elected after securing at least 50 percent of votes cast, dismissing a landmark order by the country's top court.

In its historic ruling, earlier this month the Constitutional Court overturned last year's election of President Peter Mutharika and also ordered that a candidate should be chosen by more than 50% of the ballots cast.

Under the current first-past-the-post electoral system for choosing a president Mutharika won the election with 38.5% of the votes cast, a narrow win against his closest opponent Lazarus Chakwera.

Just 109 parliamentarians voted in favour of the bill, failing to reach the two-thirds majority of 128 required to amend the constitution.

Malawi parliament has 193 members.

In an unprecedented ruling on February 3, the top court annulled the May results citing widespread irregularities - especially the "massive" use of correction fluid on tally sheets.

It ordered the southern African country to hold a fresh presidential election within 150 days.

Read more on:    peter mutharika  |  malawi  |  southern africa
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