BLANTYRE (AFP) — Malawi's electoral campaign, which ended on Sunday
morning before next week's elections, has been "smooth, very calm and
peaceful," said a European Union official.
campaigning seems to have been all right. Freedom of expression has
been assured by everyone in accordance with international standards,"
Luisa Morgantini, head of the EU's observer mission, told AFP.
EU, with 83 observers on election day, will be the largest
internatiuonal observation mission in the southern African country's
fourth parliamentary and presidential elections since the end of the
Kamuzu Banda dictatorship 15 years ago.
The EU's core team and long-term observers will remain in Malawi until mid-June to cover the post-election period.
observer missions are from the Commonwealth group of nations, the
African Union (AU), headed by John Kufuor, former president of Ghana,
and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Campaigning kicked off on March 20, after parliament had automatically dissolved.
the EU observer chief noted that incumbent President Bingu wa
Mutharika, had "more public media coverage" than all contestants.
"It was clear, there was total difference of participation in the public media," she said.
The Mutharika administration gave a total news black-out to the opposition on state radio and television.
she said the mission was in the country to "observe and make
recomendations. We hope the Malawi people will choose the best
Mutharika will slug it out with main contender John
Tembo of the Malawi congress party (MCP), who is in alliance with
former president Bakili Muluzi's United Democratic Front.
About 5.8 million people are registered for the presidential and parliamentary poll on May 19.
Some 1,151 candidates, including independents, are vying for 193 parliamentary seats.