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Commonwealth secretary-general congratulates Malawians, new president

Monday, June 29, 2020

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has congratulated the people and Government of Malawi for what she described as resolute commitment to democracy and to the rule of law demonstrated in the conduct of the June 23, 2020 election.

The country voted in a new government last Tuesday, with Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) taking 58.57 per cent of the votes. It was a dramatic reversal of the result of the original election in May 2019, which was later overturned by the courts. The repeat vote was regarded by analysts as a test of the ability of African courts to tackle ballot fraud and restrain presidential power.

Chakwera and his vice-president Saulos Chilima were sworn into office on Sunday.

The MCP has been in opposition for 26 years.

“Malawians have demonstrated to the world a resolve to chart their own democratic path in the constitutional way,” secretary general Scotland observed. “I congratulate the Malawi Electoral Commission, political parties, security forces, religious leaders, civil society groups, the media, and all national stakeholders for playing their respective roles in advancing their country's democracy.”

Scotland has also commended former president, Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika for his leadership over the past five years, and said she was looking forward to his continued collaboration with the Commonwealth on the promotion of fundamental political values.

With regard to observing the rule of law, the secretary general advised that grievances be pursued through the prescribed legal channels.

“This is the time for nation-building, and I encourage every citizen to channel the same determination shown at the ballot box towards the achievement of this collective goal. The Commonwealth stands in readiness to support the people of Malawi in this endeavour,” she said.