Malawi’s Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday upheld an earlier ruling by the Constitutional Court which had ordered fresh elections after it nullified the re-election of President Peter Mutharika.
The Constitutional Court annulled the election result on Feb. 3, saying irregularities had been systematic and widespread.
Mutharika appealed the decision, but the Supreme Court declared it could find no good reason to overturn the previous ruling.
The “use of Tippex [correction fluid] and fake, reserved and improvised tally sheets” were among the “gross irregularities” found during Mutharika’s re-election in May last year.
The Supreme Court ruling means that Malawi will go to the polls again on July 2.
The country’s electoral commission has already received nominations from presidential aspirants.
The 79-year-old Mutharika, of the Democratic Progressive Party, filed his nomination papers on Thursday alongside his new running mate, Atupele Muluzi of the United Democratic Front.
Muluzi is the son of former president Bakili Muluzi, who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 1999.
“This [fresh] election is not the will of the people; therefore, I call upon all Malawians to come out and vote in this election to express the will of the people,” an undeterred Mutharika said in a speech aired on the state-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.
Opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulosi Chilima, who were responsible for the court case against the election results, filed their nomination papers on Wednesday.
Their two parties, the Malawi Congress Party and the United Transformation Movement, have formed a coalition to bolster Chakwera’s candidacy and their chances of unseating Mutharika.