Lazarus Chakwera, former opposition Leader has been sworn into office as Malawi new president after beating the incumbent in a historic re-run election.
This comes barely day after being declared the winner in Presidential election Re-run by Electoral Commission officials on late on Saturday when he defeated incumbent Peter Mutharika with 58.57 percent of votes in the Tuesday poll, which drew around 6.8 million voters in the southern African country.
"With your help, we will restore the nation's faith in the possibility of a government that serves. Not a government that rules. A government that inspires, not a government that infuriates. A government that listens, not a government that shouts. A government that fights for you and not against you," said Chakwera during Sunday's ceremony attended by thousands in the capital, Lilongwe.
Chakwera garnered 2.6 million of the 4.4 million votes cast, representing about 59 percent, against Mutharika’s 1.7 million votes, or about 39 percent, Malawi's Electoral Commission said late on Saturday.
“The commission declares that Lazarus Chakwera… has attained the requisite majority of electorate and is duly elected as president,” the electoral commission chairman, Chifundo Kachale, told journalists.
The vote, with a turnout of 64.81 percent, was held almost five months after the country’s constitutional court annulled the results of the May 2019 election — which Mutharika had won — over widespread fraud and irregularities, including the use of correction fluid to tamper with result sheets.
“My victory is a win for democracy and justice. My heart is bubbling with joy,” Chakwera said after his triumph, which sparked wild late-night celebrations on the streets of the Malawian capital, Lilongwe.
Chakwera won election to a five-year term as president of the country of 18 million.
The outgoing, 79-year-old Mutharika earlier on Saturday claimed there had been voting irregularities, including violence and intimidation against his party’s election monitors, but the complaint was dismissed by the Malawian electoral commission.
There were no independent reports of irregularities in the presidential election rerun, and no international observer missions were present in Malawi due to the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown across the regional borders.
Majority of local observers declared the poll free and fair.