In this Tuesday, May 21, 2019, photo, vote counting gets underway in Blantyre, Malawi. The country went to the polls to elect a new president in which 78-year-old President Peter Mutharika is seeking re-election to a second term. (AP Photo/Thoko Chikondi)

Malawi's president in the lead for re-election

May 23, 2019 - 1:03 pm

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Malawi's President Peter Mutharika has taken a lead in the election with more than 75 percent of votes counted from the Tuesday poll.

Mutharika has 1.4 million votes while opposition Malawi Congress Party leader Lazarus Chakwera is second with 1.2 million votes and Vice President Saulos Chilima has 651,000 votes.

More than 3.6 million out the total 6.8 million total registered voters have been counted. This is the second day of vote tabulation which shows results from 3,792 centers out of the 5,002.

"This means we have received 75.81 percent of the total polling centers," said Malawi Electoral Commission Chairwoman Jane Ansah. She clarified that this is not a percentage of the total registered voters but total number of polling centers.

Ansah said two polling staff members have been arrested in the lakeshore town of Mangochi for attempting to manipulate elections results.

Malawi has uses 'first past the post' system where whoever amasses more votes than the other becomes a winner. Mutharika won with 36 percent of the vote in 2014 elections.

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