Malawi: Malawi goes to the polls in a climate of distrust and instability | The Guardian

Preparations for the general election in Malawi on 20 May have been more organised and transparent than in previous years, due in part to the current leadership of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC). The commission has taken on the state broadcaster, MBC, encouraging it to open up to opposition candidates and their advertisements. It has co-sponsored public debates involving candidates and regularly sent press briefings on electoral procedures. In the prevailing climate of mistrust, it is vital for the MEC to reassure candidates and voters that the presidential, national assembly and local council elections will be free and fair, and that the new government will be legitimately elected. The distrust dates back to the unexpected death of President Bingu wa Mutharika in April 2012. It began with vice-president Joyce Banda’s ascension to power, when the president’s brother, Peter Mutharika, and his Democratic Progressive party colleagues tried to halt the legal succession. Peter Mutharika is now a presidential candidate, and many voters believe his campaign is funded by wealth his brother accumulated during his period in office. His trial, along with those of the other 11 “coup-plotters”, is on hold.

Lesotho: Prime minister’s party wins vote | The Seattle Times

The party of the longtime prime minister won Lesotho’s parliamentary elections, according to complete results posted Tuesday on the website of the southern African country’s Independent Electoral Commission. Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress won 41 of 80 seats, the simple majority needed to form a government, though it may need to form a coalition to consolidate power. The All Basotho Convention, the main opposition, had 26 seats. Shortly before Saturday’s vote in this nation of 2 million, Mosisili broke away from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, which had been riven by an internal power struggle. The Lesotho Congress for Democracy had 12 seats while another opposition party had one according to the final results.

Lesotho: Former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi to Lead Commonwealth Observers to Lesotho Elections |

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced on 14 May 2012 that former Malawian President Dr Bakili Muluzi will lead the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Lesotho Parliamentary Elections, to be held on 26 May 2012. Mr Sharma said he was delighted that Dr Muluzi had accepted the invitation to lead the Group. “I am grateful to President Muluzi and other members of the Group for accepting to serve on this important undertaking. The Commonwealth attaches great importance to conducting credible elections as a means of strengthening democracy and giving citizens the opportunity to choose their leaders,” he said. “Lesotho is a valued member of the Commonwealth family, and we are delighted at having been invited to observe these elections. Credible and peaceful elections are a litmus test of how healthily the democratic culture in a country is taking root,” he added.