By RAPHAEL TENTHANI
2014-05-24 08:42 PM
BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) -- Malawi's president said Saturday that she has nullified an election because of alleged irregularities and has ordered that a new vote should be held within 90 days in the southern African nation.
President Joyce Banda also said she would drop out of any new race for the leadership of the country, which is heavily dependent on foreign aid and has been troubled by government corruption scandals.
"Malawians should elect a leader of their choice, but I will not take part in those elections," Banda said.
Maxon Mbendera, head of Malawi's election commission, said he was consulting the attorney general about the president's order.
The election results have not been officially announced.
Banda faced a field of 12 candidates in Tuesday's election, which was troubled by scattered unrest. Banda was vice president and came to power in 2012 following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika. Mutharika's brother, Peter, was a prominent challenger to Banda.
Malawi uses the first-past-the-post system, meaning that the candidate with the largest share of votes, no matter how small a percentage of the total votes cast, is the winner. Aside from the presidential vote, legislative and local elections were also held on Tuesday.
On Thursday, a deputy Cabinet minister who lost his parliamentary seat in the elections committed suicide. Godfrey Kamanya, the deputy local government minister, shot himself after locking himself in a bedroom in his house, according to authorities.