BLANTYRE (AFP) — A constitutional court ruling dismissing
ex-president Bakili Muluzi's application to run for president for a
third time had "brought relief" to Malawians, the media said Sunday.
ruling did not come as a big surprise to many... the fact that the
issue was settled by the courts has brought a lot of relief to
Malawians," the Sunday Nation said in its editorial.
"The political tension created by the debate on whether the
constitution allows a former president to bounce back after serving two
terms is almost over.
"With this matter settled for now, the focus of every Malawian will now shift to Tuesday's presidential and parliamentary poll."
5.8 million Malawians are due to vote on May 19 in the country's fourth
multi-party since the end of Kamuzu Banda's dictatorship 15 years ago.
court judge Edward Twea said in the ruling that Muluzi, who served his
two terms as president from 1994 to 2004, is not eligible to bounce
back, as the constitution limits the president -- and also the vice
president and the second vice president -- to a maximum of two
Kalekeni Kaphale, lead lawyer for Muluzi, said they would appeal the decision.
66, who defeated dictator Banda in the country's first multi-party in
1994, was in March disqualified from running for a third term.
electoral commission said he had hit his two-term limit, although
Muluzi had consistently argued the limit applies only to consecutive
Muluzi said he had only served for two consecutive terms
and was thereafter succeeded by the incumbent state president, saying
there was no possibility of life presidency.
Banda had declared
himself president for life, and the term limits were introduced to
prevent another ruler from making a similar move.
entered an unlikely electoral alliance with the Malawi Congress Party,
once the instrument of Banda's oppressive rule.
John Tembo, Banda's former lieutenant, in his bid to unseat President
Bingu wa Mutharika, his handpicked successor and now estranged protege
who ditched Muluzi to form his own Democratic Progressive Party.
had selected Mutharika as his successor after failing to convince
parliament to amend the constitution to allow him a third consecutive