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Malawi Electoral Commission Won’t Be Pushed to Release Results

  • Lameck Masina

An old woman receives a mark on her finger with indelible ink prior to vote for Malawi's Tripartite elections at Malemia School Polling center, the home village of the incumbent president, May 20, 2014.

An old woman receives a mark on her finger with indelible ink prior to vote for Malawi's Tripartite elections at Malemia School Polling center, the home village of the incumbent president, May 20, 2014.

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says it will start announcing election results once it receives 30 percent of the total vote count from the polling stations. The MEC says the release of the results has been delayed because of transmission problems. Unofficial results show two opposition presidential candidates competing for the lead.

The chairperson of the Malawi Electoral Commission, Maxon Mbendera, says the arrival of results at the National Tally Center in Blantyre is still moving at a snail’s pace.

“As of 8:00 a.m. this [Friday] morning we have captured results into the system from over 12 percent of polling centers," said Mbendera. "The commission is expanding its staff and facilities at the National Tally Center to further speed up data entry. From this point forward we will prioritize entry of presidential results."

Mbendera says that to ensure transparency, the commission will continue to provide ongoing vote counts to political party monitors for verification.

“When we reach 30 percent of the national results, we will announce those preliminary results. However, let me emphasize that the commission will not be hurried to announce results," said Mbendera. "We will ensure that we are exact and that every complaint received is addressed and resolved.”

He says the commission has so far received 135 complaints which it plans to resolve before releasing final results. He adds, however, the complaints will not affect the release of the preliminary results.

Unofficial results being released by local radio stations show the leaders of two opposition parties -- Lazarus Chakwera and Peter Mutharika -- running neck and neck in the lead. Incumbent President Joyce Banda is third.

The MEC has said final results will be announced within eight days from the last day of polling. This means that the MEC has until May 30 to announce the final tally.

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