2019 Malawian general election

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2019 Malawian general election

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  Arthur Peter Mutharika 2014 (cropped).jpg Noimage.png Saulos Klaus Chilima, Vice President of Malawi 2017 (cropped).jpg
Nominee Peter Mutharika Lazarus Chakwera Saulos Chilima
Running mate Everton Chimulirenji Sidik Mia Michael Usi
Popular vote 1,940,709 1,781,740 1,018,369
Percentage 38.57% 35.41% 20.24%

2019 Malawi Presidential Election Results Map.png
Presidential Election Results by District. Blue denotes provinces won by Mutharika, Red denotes provinces won by Chakwera, and Crimson denotes those won by Chilima.

President before election

Peter Mutharika

Elected President

Results annulled
Fresh elections ordered

General elections were held in Malawi on 21 May 2019 to elect the President, National Assembly and local government councillors.[1] Incumbent President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party was re-elected, with his party remaining the largest in the National Assembly. However, on 3 February 2020, the Constitutional Court annulled the presidential election results due to evidence of irregularities, and ordered fresh elections be held.[2] They were widely dubbed the "Tipp-Ex elections" after a brand of correction fluid which opponents claimed had been used to tamper with votes.

Electoral system[edit]

The President of Malawi is elected using the first-past-the-post system; the candidate that receives the most votes is the winner of the election.[3] The 193 members of the National Assembly are also elected by first-past-the-post voting in single-member constituencies.[4]

Presidential candidates[edit]

A total of ten candidates registered to contest the elections.[5] Incumbent President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ran for a second term in office.[6] Vice-President Saulos Chilima also contested the election as the United Transformation Movement (UTM) candidate, having left the DPP in 2018.[7] The other candidates included Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi Congress Party) and Atupele Muluzi (United Democratic Front).

Former president Joyce Banda (People's Party) had originally planned to run for the presidency, but withdrew her candidacy two months before the election;[8] she later endorsed opposition candidate Lazarus Chakwera.[9][10] Ras Chikomeni Chirwa was disqualified due to lack of funds and failing to collect enough signatures.[11]



Candidate Party Votes %
Peter Mutharika Democratic Progressive Party 1,940,709 38.57
Lazarus Chakwera Malawi Congress Party 1,781,740 35.41
Saulos Chilima United Transformation Movement 1,018,369 20.24
Atupele Muluzi United Democratic Front 235,164 4.67
Peter Kuwani Mbakuwaku Movement for Development 20,369 0.40
John Eugenes Chisi Umodzi Party 19,187 0.38
Hadwick Kaliya Independent 15,726 0.31
Invalid/blank votes 74,719
Total 5,105,983 100
Registered voters/turnout 6,859,570 74.44
Source: MEC

National Assembly[edit]

Party Vote % Seat +/–
Democratic Progressive Party 1,293,797 26.04 62 +11
Malawi Congress Party 1,108,735 22.32 55 +7
United Transformation Movement 491,845 9.90 4 New
United Democratic Front 227,335 4.58 10 –4
People's Party 121,072 2.44 5 –21
Alliance for Democracy 24,212 0.49 1 0
Other parties 40,209 0.81 0 0
Independents 1,660,569 33.43 55 +3
To be determined 1
Invalid/blank votes 103,174
Total 5,070,948 100 193 0
Registered voters/turnout
Source: Maravi Post, MEC

Local elections[edit]

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Democratic Progressive Party
Malawi Congress Party
United Transformation Movement New
Independents New
Invalid/blank Votes
Total 100
Registered voters/turnout 6,859,570
Source: MEC, NPL


The results of the 2019 elections were highly controversial and opposition leaders led by Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima disputed the results in court. Nationwide protests were held in May, June, and July 2019 in which supporters of the opposition accused the results of being rigged by Mutharika and Jane Ansah, chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission, calling for Ansah’s resignation. Malawian youth organised a "Jane Ansah Must Fall" campaign, which included days of protests in several cities. In response, thousands of women in Malawi held "I am Jane Ansah" solidarity protests after alleging that Ansah was the victim of gender discrimination.[12][13]

On 3 February 2020, the Constitutional Court judges arrived in Lilongwe to read the disputed presidential election results judgement after travelling in a military vehicle with a heavy police escort. The judges took turns to read the 500-page decision over more than seven hours.[14] The ruling nullified the results of the presidential election, concluding they had not met the standards of a free and fair election and that the Malawi Electoral Commission had failed to uphold its constitutional responsibilities. The judgement cited tampering of results, failure to address complaints raised by opposition candidates, and numerous other malpractices.[2] The ruling also called into question the use of a plurality system in the presidential elections, stating the Malawi Constitution requires a majority of votes.[2]

Mutharika was declared not duly elected and thus no longer President. The judges ordered fresh elections be held within 150 days.[15]

Although DPP won plurality of seats, elections in three of the seats it won were annulled due to irregularities, and thus they were reduced to 59 lawmakers in the Parliament.[16]


  1. ^ MEC announces Malawi tripartite election date: May 21 2019 Nyasa Times, 21 February 2018
  2. ^ a b c Dionne, Kim Yi; Dulani, Boniface (4 February 2020). "A Malawi court just ordered a do-over presidential election. Here's what you need to know". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  3. ^ Republic of Malawi: Election for President IFES
  4. ^ Electoral system IPU
  5. ^ 10 to contest for presidency in Malawi May polls Xinhua, 9 February 2019
  6. ^ Malawi's Mutharika Insists He Will Seek Final Presidential Term in 2019 Nyasa Times, 16 May 2018
  7. ^ Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima turns opposition candidate in race for polls in May Archived 28 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine Gulf Times, 14 January 2019
  8. ^ Ex-president Banda pulls out of Malawi presidential race Reuters, 14 March 2019
  9. ^ "Joyce Banda Withdraws from Malawi Presidential Race". VOA. 15 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Malawi ex-leader Banda seals another opposition pact". AFP via Eyewitness News South Africa. 18 March 2019.
  11. ^ Ras Chikomeni pursuing case to be on ballot: Judge refuses injunction ex-parte Nyasa Times, 9 February 2019
  12. ^ Masina, Lameck (21 June 2019). "Malawi Women Protest in Defense of Embattled Election Chairperson". Voice of America. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Malawi's concerned youths on MEC Chair Jane Ansah must fall campaign". Maravipost.com. 5 May 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Malawi anxiously awaits verdict on alleged presidential election fraud". rfi.fr. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Malawi top court annuls presidential election results". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  16. ^ https://www.nyasatimes.com/tonse-mps-to-move-to-govt-benches-in-parliament-dpp-to-provide-opposition-leader-mcp-ruling-party/