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Lazarus Chakwera leads

By Peter Kanjere:

Lazarus Chakwera

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) torchbearer Lazarus Chakwera is leading in preliminary results of the presidential race, having realised 37.65 percent of the 1,436,400 presidential votes which Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) had received as of 8pm Wednesday.

The 1,436,400 votes represent 35.67 percent of the overall 6.859,570 registered voters, Mec Chairperson Jane Ansah told the press in Blantyre Wednesday.

As we went to press, Chakwera had amassed 533,217 votes, followed by incumbent Peter Mutharika’s 524,247 votes (37.01 percent), UTM’s Saulos Chilima’s 293,978 (20.76 percent) and United Democratic Front’s Atupele Muluzi’s (48,766 or 3.44 percent).

The other presidential candidates Peter Kuwani of Mbakuwaku Movement for Development had earned 6,113 votes, translating to 0.43 percent, John Chisi of Umodzi Party (5,786 or 0.4 percent) and 0.30 percent for independent candidate Reverend Kaliya’s 4,308 votes.

Ansah, speaking at Mec’s main tally centre at Comesa Hall, said there were also some null and void votes.

“Out of the total 1,436,400 votes cast, 1,416,415 are valid while 19,985 are null and void,” she said, adding that the commission had received complaints from some political parties.

She, however, warned other political parties against making inflammatory remarks.

“Leaders should not utter statements that would make people live in fear…avoid statements that would imply claiming victory,” Ansah said.

Mec’s statement came after Chakwera had, during a press conference he hosted in Blantyre, challenged the commission to iron out some anomalies noted in the electoral process, saying it was clear that he was leading in the presidential race.

Mec will release official results, including for councillors and members of Parliament within eight days from Tuesday.

The preliminary results are from 1,784 polling centres out of 5,002.

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