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Malawi vice president sues president over electoral body

AFP  |  Blantyre 

Malawian Vice President Saulos Chilima has filed a lawsuit against President Peter Mutharika after he refused to fire the electoral commissioners who oversaw last year's failed election, his lawyer said Thursday.

A battle has been raging for months between the opposition and head of state over the May 21 vote, which was tainted by irregularities.

Mutharika has refused to promulgate laws to hold the new ballot and to fire members of the Malawi Election Commission (MEC), which was requested by the constitutional court in its historic judgment.

Parliament's public appointment committee also found that the commissioners were incompetent to manage fresh elections.

"Following the judgment by the constitutional court, the MEC commissioners' continued presence in the office is both unconstitutional and illegal," Chilima's attorney, Chikosa Silungwe, told AFP.

Chilima has also sued the commissioners for their refusal to resign and is seeking a stay order to stop them from working.

Silungwe said the court is yet to give a date for hearing the case.

The rerun of the election has

been scheduled for July 2, but it could be delayed by a petition that Mutharika has filed to the Supreme Court of Appeal, contesting the cancellation.

His appeal will be heard from April 15.

In its landmark ruling, the Constitutional Court last month said the poll results were fraught with widespread irregularities -- in particular the "massive" use of correction fluid on tally sheets -- and ordered a rerun within 150 days.

Mutharika has refused to give his assent to electoral law amendments that require a more than 50 percent majority to secure a second term.

The threshold is a major sticking point for the incumbent, who had been declared winner with just 35.8 percent of the vote.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 26 2020. 16:32 IST