2019 Malawian general election

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2019 Malawian general election
Flag of Malawi.svg
  2014 21 May 2019 2020  
  Arthur Peter Mutharika 2014 (cropped).jpg Lazarus Chakwera Profile (cropped).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 vote1,940,7091,781,7401,018,369

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

None (election results annulled)

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

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

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]



CandidateRunning matePartyVotes%
Peter Mutharika Everton Chimulirenji Democratic Progressive Party 1,940,70938.57
Lazarus Chakwera Sidik Mia Malawi Congress Party 1,781,74035.41
Saulos Chilima Michael Usi United Transformation Movement1,018,36920.24
Atupele Muluzi Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo United Democratic Front 235,1644.67
Peter KuwaniArchibald Kalawang'omaMbakuwaku Movement for Development20,3690.40
John Eugenes ChisiTimothy Watch KamuleteUmodzi Party19,1870.38
Hadwick KaliyaMabvuto Alfred Ng'onaIndependent15,7260.31
Valid votes5,031,26498.54
Invalid/blank votes74,7191.46
Total votes5,105,983100.00
Registered voters/turnout6,859,57074.44
Source: Malawi Electoral Commission

National Assembly

Democratic Progressive Party 1,293,79726.0462+11
Malawi Congress Party 1,108,73522.3255+7
United Transformation Movement 491,8459.904New
United Democratic Front 227,3354.5810–4
People's Party 121,0722.445–21
Alliance for Democracy 24,2120.4910
Other parties40,2090.8100
Valid votes4,967,77497.97
Invalid/blank votes103,1742.03
Total votes5,070,948100.00
Registered voters/turnout6,859,57073.93
Source: Maravi Post, MEC


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 a 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]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Politics of Malawi</span> Political system of Malawi

Politics of Malawi takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Malawi is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. There is a cabinet of Malawi that is appointed by the President of Malawi. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The government of Malawi has been a multi-party democracy since 1994. The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Malawi a "hybrid regime" in 2019.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Democratic Progressive Party (Malawi)</span> Political party in Malawi

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is a political party in Malawi. The party was formed in February 2005 by Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika after a dispute with the United Democratic Front (UDF), which was led by his predecessor, Bakili Muluzi.

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Gwandaguluwe "Gwanda" Chakuamba Phiri was a Malawian politician who was the leader of the New Republican Party (NRP). He hailed from Nsanje, a district on the southern part of Malawi. Gwanda Chakuamba attended Zomba Catholic Secondary School, a 2 year metriculation at Sulosi College in Bulawayo Zimbabwe before proceeding to the US to study law though not much is known about whether he did a degree program or a short course.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">2009 Malawian general election</span>

General elections were held in Malawi on 19 May 2009. Incumbent President Bingu wa Mutharika ran for re-election; his main opponent was John Tembo, the president of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Five other candidates also ran. The election was won by Mutharika, who was re-elected to the Presidency with around two-thirds of the vote. Mutharika's DPP also won a strong parliamentary majority.

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Arthur Peter Mutharika is a Malawian politician and lawyer who was President of Malawi from May 2014 to June 2020. Mutharika has worked in the field of international justice, specialising in international economic law, international law and comparative constitutional law. He informally served as an adviser to his older brother, President Bingu wa Mutharika, on issues of foreign and domestic policy from the onset of his election campaign until the President's death on 5 April 2012.

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Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera is a Malawian theologian and politician who has served as President of Malawi since June 2020. In addition to the Presidency, he also serves as Minister of Defence per Malawian constitution. He has been leader of the Malawi Congress Party since 2013, and was previously Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly following highly controversial elections held on 21 May 2019 which were overturned by the Constitutional Court. He was appointed chairman of SADC on 17 August at the SADC 41st Annual Summit held on 9 August to 19 August in Lilongwe, Malawi. He was President of the Malawi Assemblies of God from 1989 to 14 May 2013.

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  1. MEC announces Malawi tripartite election date: May 21 2019 Nyasa Times, 21 February 2018
  2. 1 2 3 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. "Tonse MPs to move to govt benches in Parliament: DPP to provide opposition leader, MCP ruling party - Malawi Nyasa Times - News from Malawi about Malawi".