The elections were cancelled in February by the Constitutional Court due to irregularities.
Malawians will return to the polls in early July for a presidential election rerun ordered by the country's Constitutional Court, which annulled last year's vote results because of irregularities.
"Following the Constitutional Court ruling on February 3, 2020 that nullified the presidential elections and ordered that there should be fresh elections, the Electoral Commission announces that the rerun elections will be held on 2nd July 2020," Electoral Commission Chief Jane Ansah told a news conference.
In a landmark ruling last month, the Constitutional Court overturned the outcome of the 21st May 2019 election, which handed President Peter Mutharika a second term in office. The court said the poll results were fraught with widespread irregularities, in particular, the "massive" use of correction fluid on tally sheets.
It ordered the holding of fresh polls within 150 days, but Mr Mutharika is appealing the court's ruling. The appeal will be heard in the Supreme Court starting April 15. A previous attempt by the president to suspend the court ruling was rejected in February by the top judicial body. It is the first time a presidential election has been challenged on legal grounds in Malawi since independence from the United Kingdom in 1964.
Meanwhile, Malawi’s two largest opposition parties have agreed on an electoral alliance ahead of a fresh presidential vote in July. The United Transformation Movement (UTM), whose candidate came third in last year’s presidential poll, said it will partner with the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), whose candidate narrowly lost to President Peter Mutharika. In a statement, the UTM said the decision was reached in the wake of a “groundswell of support for a united front” among Malawians. Last week, Mutharika, who is fighting to retain the country’s top job, clinched an electoral deal with the United Democratic Front led by Atupele Muluzi, former president Bakili Muluzi’s son, who came fourth in last year’s election.
It should be noted that the Constitutional Court has ordered that from now on, a candidate is elected president after scoring more than 50 percent of the ballots cast. Previously presidents were chosen under the first-past-the-post system which saw Mr Mutharika win last year with just 38.5 percent of the votes cast, narrowly beating MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera, who scored 35.4 percent.