|Malawi election update
by Munetsi Madakufamba
BLANTYRE, 17 June 1999
Vote counting for Malawis June 15 poll continues at a snail pace with Bakili Buluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF) leading in preliminary results received from the eight of the countrys total 26 districts.
By mid-day Thursday, Muluzi had taken 594,619, while Gwanda Chakuamba of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), was trailing in second place with 373,371. The other three candidates have less than 20,000 of the votes counted so far.
It is proving a tall order for Bingu wa Mutharika, the man who led the Common market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) for three years from
1994, before coming back home to form his United Party. His party has only managed 4,197 votes so far, and is trailing the five-man presidential pack.
By the time of writing, the Malawi Electoral Commission had only received results from 51 of the 193 parliamentary constituency, raising fears it will not meet the deadline set for Friday. Malawi's Electoral law requires that the winner of an election be declared 72 hours after close of polling.
Officially, voting ended at 6pm on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission, fearing it may miss the Friday deadline, has given district commissions until 6pm Thursday to send all the
We are ..worried with the delay because the nation is anxiously waiting for the results, said Roosevelt Gondwe, the chief elections officer.
Observers say if the situation continues as it is now, the electoral process may be plunged back into legal battles that characterised the pre-poll