World
Malawi vote count hits fresh hitch in court
Publish Date: May 30, 2014
Malawi vote count hits fresh hitch in court
A Malawian army soldier standing on guard while hundreds of residents from Ndirande township queued to vote last week. PHOTO/AFP
  • mail
  • img
newvision

BLANTYRE - Malawi's disputed presidential elections ran into fresh trouble Thursday after a judge due to rule on when the results should be released had to step down from the case.

The hitch means it is now unclear whether court challenges to the disputed vote will be considered before the Friday midnight deadline for releasing the results.

High court judge Healy Potani was scheduled to start hearing the case on Thursday and then rule on Friday whether Malawi's electoral commission could be granted a 30-day extension to hold a recount.

But Potani recused himself after his impartiality was challenged on the grounds that one of his brothers is a deputy chief elections officer at the electoral commission.

A replacement judge Kenyatta Nyirenda took over several hours later and immediately the hearing started.

But amid the delays and with the case thrown into confusion, the electoral commission indicated it might have to release the results on Friday without a recount.

By law, the commission is obliged to release the results within eight days of the vote.


The electoral commission has indicated it might have to release the results on Friday without a recount. PHOTO/AFP

Chief elections officer Willie Kalonga told AFP: "We still have until tomorrow to announce the results."

The Malawi Congress Party, whose presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera was running second in preliminary results released after about a third of the vote had been counted last week, had asked for a court order allowing for a recount.

But the Democratic Progressive Party led by Peter Mutharika, who was leading the vote in early results, wanted the court to prevent the 30-day extension.

Meanwhile, President Joyce Banda, who was shown to be running third, last week called the vote "null and void", saying it was marred by "serious irregularities", and called for fresh elections.

Modecai Msiska, a lawyer for the electoral commission, told AFP that despite the failure of the case to begin with, "as we stand now, the commission is within the statutory calendar to release the results by Friday".

Meanwhile, it would wait to see whether the court could grant an extension for a recount, he said.

AFP


Also related to this story

Chaotic Malawi election sparks legal battle

Malawi vote counting system collapses

President declares election 'null and void'

High court stops president from halting poll

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Village votes to expel HIV-positive boy
The plight of a Chinese boy with the HIV virus, reportedly pushed to leave his home by 200 villagers who signed a petition...
Key points in Obama
Among the changes, Obama will authorize the State Department to re-establish full diplomatic relations with Cuba....
Global life expectancy rises - study
People around the world lived on average to a ripe old age of 71.5 in 2013, up from 65.3 in 1990, a study says....
US announces
The United States on Wednesday announced a "historic" thaw in relations with Cuba, saying it would work to re-establish diplomatic ties with Havana and ease long-standing trade and travel sanctions....
Jeb latest Bush to launch US presidential bid
JEB Bush, son to one former US president and brother to another, threw his hat into the ring for the 2016 race...
Australia vows to unearth why
Australia''s government pledged Tuesday to determine why an Iranian-born Islamist with a history of extremism and violence was able to play out a "sick fantasy" by seizing hostages in a day-long siege....
What is causing the rise in Early child marriages?
Decaying social structures
Poor Education
None of the above
follow us
subscribe to our news letter