- Malawi opposition threatens
to reject poll
Voting has been peaceful, despite fears of disruption
Malawi's main opposition alliance has warned that it will
not accept an unfavourable result from this week's
"We believe we would win fair elections, but these have
not been free and fair in my view, and we will not accept
defeat under the circumstances," said Dan Msowoya,
spokesman for the Alliance for Democracy (Aford).
He said he was speaking on behalf of the electoral
alliance comprising Aford and the Malawi Congress
Party (MCP), which is seeking to unseat President
Bakili Muluzi's United Democratic Front.
"We will seek court intervention if the election goes
against us," Mr Msowoya said.
As counting continued, indications were that over 90% of
registered voters had gone to the polls in Tuesday's
election - Malawi's second since the transition to
democracy five years ago.
There is as yet no indication of the final results, but state
radio reported that the opposition alliance had made
The election was marred by a row over the registration
process, which resulted in some 100,000 eligible voters
not being allowed to take part.
Those without registration were told to stay away from
polling stations or risk arrest.
By contrast with the
opposition, President Muluzi
said he would accept defeat
if the ballot went against him.
"I am confident I am going to
win, but I will accept defeat
because I defend
democracy," he said as he
President Muluzi won the
1994 elections which ended
30 years of one-party rule by
the MCP, under the self-proclaimed Life President
Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
Both Mr Muluzi and the MCP-Aford presidential
candidate, Gwanda Chakuamba, once served as
ministers under Dr Banda.
The UDF and the MCP-Aford alliance are each believed
to have roughly 50% of the vote. Smaller parties have
little chance of making an impact on the election.
In the last parliament - made up of 177 seats - the UDF
held 76, the MCP 68 and Aford 33.
Voting patterns in Malawi are
largely based on regional
The north of the country is
loyal to Aford, the centre to
the MCP and the densely
populated south to the UDF.
The northern region has
consistently asserted that it
has been deprived of
investment and development
by the government of Mr Muluzi - a charge the