Peter Mutharika, the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party and brother of Malawi’s former leader, has been declared the winner of the country’s disputed presidential election after garnering 36.4 percent of the votes cast.
The electoral commission said Mutharika came ahead of Lazarus Chakwera who obtained 27.8 percent of the vote and outgoing president Joyce Banda who garnered 20.2 percent.
Banda has reportedly accepted the election results despite earlier this week claiming the vote was null and void amid allegations of polling irregularities and fraud.
The results were announced minutes after a court refused to grant an extension for a recount that had been sought by Chakwera.
Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from the city of Blantyre, said that Mutharika was expected to begin the inauguration process early on Saturday and forgo the presidential transition period, in order to avoid facing contention from his opponents.
On Thursday, Maxon Mbendera, the head of the country’s electoral commission, said that the presidential elections were held in a free, fair, and credible manner although anomalities were discovered at over 4,000 polling stations.
Malawi was forced to deploy the army on the first day of voting last week after delays in opening the polls led voters to riot and burn down at least two stations.
Supporters of Banda have held a series of protests alleging that the vote was rigged in favour of Mutharika.
The violence marred an election that was seen as the first true test of Banada’s scandal-tainted rule.