Malawian opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera yesterday took his oath of office as the country’s new president after winning a rerun of general elections with 58.57 percent of the vote.
“I ... do solemnly swear that I will well and truly perform the functions of the high office of the president of the Republic of Malawi, and that I will preserve and defend the constitution,” Chakwera said as he was sworn in at a ceremony in the capital, Lilongwe.
“Fellow Malawians, to stand before you is an honor. It’s an honor that fills me with unspeakable joy,” Chakwera said in an inaugural address. “It is an honor forged in the furnace of your desire and your demand for change.”
Chakwera’s victory was a dramatic reversal of fortune for former Malawian president Peter Mutharika, whose victory in the election in May last year was overturned by the Malawian Constitutional Court, citing widespread fraud.
About 6.8 million voters in the southern African country had returned to the polls on Tuesday.
On Saturday, Malawian Electoral Commission chairman Chifundo Kachale told journalists that “the commission declares that Lazarus Chakwera, having attained 58.57 percent of the vote, has been duly elected as the president of Malawi.”
Mutharika came second with 1,751,377 votes, while underdog candidate Peter Dominico Kuwani received 32,456. Voter turnout was 64.81 percent.
The announcement was met with loud cheers and applause as opposition supporters waved Malawi’s red, black and green flag and chanted “Government!” in local Chichewa.
In February, Malawi’s top court found that the first election had been marred by widespread irregularities, including the use of correction fluid to tamper with result sheets.
The landmark ruling made Malawi just the second sub-Saharan country to have presidential poll results set aside, after Kenya in 2017.
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