Tuesday, February 04, 2020

A victory for democracy in Malawi

Something you don't see: Malawi's constitutional court has annulled fraudulent elections and ordered new ones:

Judges in Malawi have annulled last year’s elections and called for a new ballot within 150 days.

In a landmark judgment that experts hailed as a step forward for democracy, the country’s constitutional court found that evidence of fraud and malpractice meant the results of the poll could not be allowed to stand.

The judges had taken more than 10 hours to read their 500-page decision, amid heavy security and calls for calm from diplomats. Their judgment described “widespread, systematic and grave” irregularities including significant use of correction fluid to alter the outcome.

A new vote would be held within 150 days, the court said, saying it hoped the ruling would not “destroy the nation”.

There was a similar ruling in Kenya a few years ago, and it shows a good trend of courts standing up to authoritarian leaders and demanding that democratic norms are respected. And hopefully that trend will continue (or better yet, be unnecessary).