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United State tips Malawi on elections

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United States Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, has said Malawi can learn a lot from the way her country has conducted its elections where former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton engaged in a tight race with business mogul Donald Trump.

Trump, a Republican, eventually emerged winner in the heavily contested election and becomes America’s 45th president.

Observers say his victory might redefine America’s future in terms of its foreign policy but Palmer hopes that there will be consistency in terms of America’s policy in Malawi.

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The run-up to the election in the world’s most powerful nation was characterised by numerous controversies bordering on political smear campaigns.

In an interview at her official residence in Lilongwe—where different officials witnessed the live broadcast of the election results progress—Palmer said transparency and accountability are key to the success of any election.

She added that even if one does not like the outcome of the results, it is important to accept that there can only be one winner and that voters need to have confidence that the results were achieved fairly.

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Election results in Malawi have been characterised by several complains of vote rigging with losers seldom accepting that it was not just their time yet.

And Palmer said the process of elections being clean and transparent is “credibly important” because it also cultivates confidence in a country’s electoral system.

“I was saying to my Malawian guests who include election commissioners, politicians from different parties and others that Malawi has a great democratic tradition and transparency and accountability are key to the success of any system.

“Even when we know that the results are very close and even when there have been problems in the past American elections, the American people have faith in our institutions and I think that’s what’s most important,” said Palmer.

She added that it is important for all party representatives to have full access to the counting and the information regarding an election.

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Justice Jane Ansah, said even though America is a big nation, it is amazing that election results reached the tally centre immediately after polling.

“I can see that technology has played a very big role in the election. We don’t have such advanced technology but we hope that we will reach there and that we will also conduct our elections in a similar manner,” said Ansah.

In his speech immediately after being declared winner, Trump said it is time for Americans to be united and put their country’s interests first.

He also disclosed that his rival, Clinton—a democrat—had called to congratulate him on his victory.

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