Early sporadic results coming after mid-night today show that regional strongholds for DPP and MCP held firmly, but new kid on the block UTM Party appeared to ingratiate itself in the Central and Northern Regions while UDF showed support erosion in what used to be its eastern region bedroom.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) appeared to maintain its grip on the so-called Lhomwe Belt of Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe and Chiradzulu while running strongly in the Eastern Region, especially in Machinga.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) seemed to have maintained its grip on its traditional stronghold—the Central Region—but showed little signs of expanding its electoral map to the South, Eastern and Northern regions of the country despite alliances with Joyce Banda’s People’s Party (PP) and Khumbo Kachali’s Freedom Party.
However, MCP posted strong results in the sporadic results that came out of the Lower Shire district of Chikwawa, suggesting that the so-called Sidik Mia factor could be rubbing off the oldest party positively having picked Mia as the party’s running mate.
UTM Party was running strongly in the Northern Region, especially in Rumphi and Karonga, as it was neck-in-neck with DPP while remaining competitive in the Central, Eastern and Southern regions.
But with results drip-dropping, those who voted in yesterday’s tripartite elections will have to wait longer for a more definitive patterns to emerge as Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) said it will only publish verified results.
Counting of the votes started soon after the 5 002 polling stations closed at 6pm or thereabouts, except Kanyenjere polling station in Chitipa Central Constituency which closed at 10.25 pm to compensate for delayed opening due to logistical hiccups and ensure that voters were given the legal 12-hour voting duration.
By midnight, the results were not clearly shaping as only those from streams—designated lines at a polling station— were trickling in. Based on the pace, the picture of the results at constituency or district level in all the three elections—presidential, parliamentary and local government—should start emerging later today.
Briefing the media at the National Tally Centre in Blantyre at around 10.30pm, MEC chairperson Jane Ansah stressed that the electoral body will only post results that are verified by auditors and signed for by stakeholders, including political party representatives.
Unlike in past elections, this year MEC is counting the streams at polling stations simultaneously. Previously, the votes from streams at a station were counted successively.
Earlier MEC had said voting in all 5 002 polling centres went on well.