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Last Updated: Friday, 28 May, 2004, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Malawi elections: Your experiences
Voters queue up in Malawi
Opposition supporters have clashed with Malawi security forces, as the new president Bingu wa Mutharika was being sworn in.

At least four people are reported to have died and police have used live bullets against protestors in suburbs of the largest city, Blantyre.

International observers noted "serious anomalies" with the poll, concerning the voters' roll and media bias.

Taking the oath of office, Mr Mutharika said his priorities were tackling poverty and corruption.

Were the elections free and fair? Is the new president right for the job? Send us your comments.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we received:

I have been saddened by the way the Malawi Electoral Commission has handled the complaints tabled by the opposition parties and the civil society organisation regarding rigging of votes and anomalies in the electoral process. I am particularly concerned about the haste the commission took in announcing the results and consequently in the manner that the government organised the swearing in ceremony before the results were adequately verified.
Phillip Kapulula, Lilongwe, Malawi

It is clear that these elections were not free and fair. There was too much at stake for Mr Muluzi who knew that prison was beckoning having used his position to amass wealth and becoming the richest man in Malawi within a short period of time. My only hope is that the new President will assert himself and prosecute all those who abused office including Mr Muluzi. Please Mr President consider the poor Malawians in all your decisions. After all they went to the polling stations barefoot to vote for you.
Davis Namba, Nottingham, UK

Malawi may plummeted further into poverty
Mazika Chamangwana, Dar es Salaam
I think whats happening to Malawi is very, whats worse is that the rest of the world stands by and just reports anomalities. What is needed is action before its too late and Malawi may plummeted further into poverty
Mazika Chamangwana, Dar es Salaam

This is inevitable, as Malawi is a young democracy. In our early democratic days, we behaved badly as well. African peoples are often used to a governmental system, whereby one person rules & crushes dissent and everybody else sings and dances round him.
Graeme Phillips, Berlin, Germany (normally UK)

We want change
Felix, Blantyre , Malawi

Honestly speaking, Malawians are tired of the UDF rule which (if elected agian) will definately turn dictatorial. The poor will suffer further economically, most notably the fuel hike which will follow.
Chrispin Khonje, Lilongwe

I only hope and pray that the people of Malawi will at the end of the day have a leader of their choice i.e. to say the elections will be free and fair unlike in my country where the authorities are killing democracy and press freedom.
Fams, Banjul, Gambia

They need get the country back on a sound agricultural and economic track
Jacson, London, UK
Many will be breathing a sigh of relief that Muluzi is stepping down. Even in far-flung corners of the country, national politics is a favourite topic of discussion, and even the farmers of the field were aware of the corruption that Muluzi, a long-time Mugabe supporter, could have plagued Malawi with if elected for a third term. It remains to be seen whether any of his successors are unfettered enough to scrub all traces of corruption from the system and get the country back on a sound agricultural and economic track.
Jacson, London, UK

My major concern is that living very far away, where there is no Malawian embassy or consulate, has made me lost my vote (for this time). I hope the coming ruling government can consider using me as a consulate or official representative in the far away lands that I am already living in. It could be good for Malawi, as well as me feeling and knowing I am doing something to help my beautiful, yet disadvantaged country.
Catherine, Nuuk, Greenland

Most of the people in Malawi wanted change. Muluzi and his Bingu are the wrong choice if that is to happen. there is a lot of tension in many towns because of the cheating that has happened by Bingu. This has been proved by a number of ballot boxes that have been seen to have contained marked ballot papers by anonymous people, a mission done by the ruling party UDF. Concerned Malawians like me are earnestly praying for the intervention of God, or some court action.
Godfrey , Zomba, Malawi

Having spent polling day visiting a number of voting centres one of the most striking features of this election is the low turnout. In some urban areas turnout has been as low as 30% with the national average probably around 50%. This will reflect a major decrease on the 1999 figure of 80% and must be a key issue addressed when evaluating the state of Malawi's young democracy.
Kondwani Mwalughali, Blantyre, Malawi

Let us move forward, as peaceful nation
Phillip Phiri, Salima, Malawi
I want to congratulate my fellow Malawians, who exercised their democratic freedom for voting for candidates of their choice. Let us move forward, as peaceful nation.
Phillip Phiri, Salima, Malawi

Firstly the new president is right for the job in all aspects. Were the elections free and fair? Who cares - so long as the right person won and he is the right person among the candidates.
Sean Lulker, Limbe, Malawi

The Electoral Commission has all along appeared to be inept at organising these elections. I look forward to a time when we will have a commission that is professional and without bias. That said, Malawians are yet again showing their faith in democracy by turning out to cast their votes.
Boniface Dulani, Zomba, Malawi

The problem is that people do not want to accept if they lose but they forget that democracy is like that.
Moses Chikowi, Lilongwe, Malawi

An injunction has been taken out preventing radio stations discussing the elections. How free and fair is that?
Tim, Blantyre, Malawi

It's quite unfortunate to hear about all these irregularities in the Malawi elections. Why is the electoral body failing to announce the results up to date? What a fishy business? It's really suspicious considering the fact that only 5.7m people cast their votes on Thursday. Remember that it's easy to hide but it's not easy to run away from the truth.
Mada, Cyprus

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