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Malawi opposition seeks president’s removal

Malawi’s former ruling party turned opposition wants last year’s election nullified saying it was presided over by an electoral management body that was illegally constituted.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has filed a lawsuit in court asking for the removal of office of President Lazarus Chakwera.

In recent weeks the Malawi High Court has declared that four commissioners of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) who presided over the elections, illegally held their positions.

Malawi law provides that electoral commissioners must be appointed on recommendation of political parties that secure at least one-tenth of the national vote in parliamentary polls and that each party represented on the commission must have a maximum of three representatives.

Only two political parties, former President Peter Mutharika’s DPP and President Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP), achieved the threshold but Mr Mutharika appointed four from his party and two from MCP.

The high court said the four DPP appointees were illegally appointed and nullified their appointments.

Though the high court ruled that the nullification of the appointments should not have a bearing on validity of the elections, the DPP contends that elections presided over by commissioners declared to have been illegally elected cannot be valid.

The party also wants all parliamentarians and councillors elected in by-elections held within the past year nullified on the same grounds. Mr Mutharika lost to President Chakwera in the 23 June 2020 repeat elections after the court nullified the 2019 polls

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