Lilongwe — The European Union (EU) has deployed an election observation mission (EOM) to Malawi ahead of what is anticipated to be a closely-contested poll in May.
Miroslav Poche, a Member of the European Parliament from the Czech Republic is the Chief Observer.
The envoy expressed hope that Malawi state bodies and political parties will all play their part in promoting a credible and peaceful process.
"These elections are an opportunity for Malawi to build on what was achieved in 2014 and to further strengthen the country's democracy," Poche said.
The EOM team, consisting of eight analysts, arrived in Blantyre on April 4 and will stay in the Southern African country until the completion of the electoral process.
Core team members will be joined by 28 long-term observers in mid-April and 32 short-term observers shortly before the Election Day on May 21.
Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the European Commission, said the tripartite elections are an important milestone for Malawi.
"The decision to deploy an EOM reflects the European Union's long-term commitment to supporting credible, inclusive and transparent elections in the country and elsewhere in the Southern Africa region," Mogherini stated.
President Peter Mutharika is seeking re-election following his win in 2014.
Lazarus Chakwera is again his main rival and received a boost following a coalition with former President, Joyce Banda.