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Rev. Dr. Lazarus Chakawara was elected national president of Malawi.

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He defeated incumbent Peter Mutharika with 58.57% of votes in Tuesday’s poll.

“I do feel like Lazarus, I’ve come back from the dead,” Mr Chakwera said, referring to the biblical character of the same name.

In February, Malawi’s constitutional court annulled Mr Mutharika’s poll win in May 2019, citing vote tampering.

The country was bitterly divided in the run-up to this week’s election. But Mr Chakwera said those who did not support him had nothing to fear.

“There’s no cause for fear because I will be your president and my policy for inclusivity means we are building a new Malawi for all of us,” Mr Chakwera told.

“I’m not a president of a faction, I’m a president of everyone in the country,” he added.

Mr Chakwera dismissed allegations by Mr Mutharika that the poll was marred by violence and irregularities, saying his predecessor was “misled by rumours”.

However, he said he would not stand in the way of Mr Mutharika should he want to challenge the election.

Saulos Chilima, Mr Chakwera’s running mate, was also sworn in as vice-president at a ceremony in the capital, Lilongwe.

Mr Chakwera, a Pentecostal preacher and former theology lecturer, said his role would be to unite and serve Malawians.

“I want to provide leadership that makes everybody prosper, that deals decisively with corruption and theft of public funds and a leadership that will follow the rule of law,” he told .

“I do feel like Lazarus, I’ve come back from the dead, it’s been a long journey and we feel vindicated in a way,” he said about winning the rerun election.

Other countries in Africa have had elections annulled – it happened in Kenya in 2017 – but for the opposition candidate to then go on and win a rerun is unprecedented.

The new President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, has told the BBC that his win in the rerun election was a “victory for democracy and justice”.

What did he say in his speech?
“Fellow Malawians, to stand before you as your president today is an honour,” Mr Chakwera said in a speech after being sworn in.

He vowed to unite the country and fight poverty.

“Of what use is freedom from oppression if you and I are slaves to starvation? Or freedom from colonialism if you are a slave to tribalism?,” he said.

“Time has come for us to go beyond dreaming, time has come for us to wake up, to arise from slumber, and to make our dreams come true,” Mr Chakwera said.

“With your help we will restore faith in having a government that serves; not a government that rules, a government that inspires, not a government that infuriates, a government that listens, not a government that shouts but a government that fights for you and not against you,” he added.

Mr Mutharika did not attend the ceremony because the law does not require the outgoing president to be present when a successor is taking over, the BBC’s Peter Jegwa in Lilongwe reports.

Why was there a new vote?
A rerun of the 2019 election was ordered after the Constitutional Court found the original ballot had been marred by widespread irregularities.

That election saw President Mutharika narrowly re-elected by fewer than 159,000 votes.

Mr Chakwera, who came second in that election, argued that tallying forms had been added up incorrectly and tampered with.

Uncertainty around the result sparked months of tension, which spilled over into clashes between opposition supporters and police.

February’s annulment led some to celebrate, but Mr Mutharika described it as a “serious subversion of justice” which marked the death of the country’s democracy.

There were concerns over the logistics and safety of carrying out an election in the midst of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Who is Lazarus Chakwera?
The opposition leader, a former cleric, heads up the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

Born in Lilongwe to a subsistence farmer, the philosophy and theology graduate has pledged to raise the national minimum wage, among other reforms.

Mr Chakwera leads a nine-party coalition, the Tonse Alliance, and had the backing of former President Joyce Banda as well Mr Chilima, who served as deputy to Mr Mutharika.

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Texas resumes executions after 5-month delay due to coronavirus pandemic

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Texas is set to move forward with the execution of an inmate Wednesday, its first since a five-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Billy Wardlow, 45, was convicted of capital murder after he fatally shot an 82-year-old man, Carl Cole, in 1993 during a robbery at Cole’s home.

Wardlow was 18 at the time. The minimum age a person can receive the death penalty in Texas is 17 years old.

Wardlow’s attorney, Richard Burr, told ABC News Wednesday that there are three pending petitions in the Supreme Court that could possibly result in a stay of execution.

He called those petitions “the most serious and hopeful.”

One petition, which has been pending since June 10, has to do with the question of predicting future dangers, according to Burr.

In Texas, in order to be sentenced to death, a person has to be deemed someone who is likely to be dangerous in the future.

“You can scientifically know now it was impossible to predict future dangers of an 18-year-old because their brains are still not fully formed,” Burr said.

Prosecutors argued that society has long used the age of 18 as the point where it draws the line for many distinctions between childhood and adulthood, according to the Associated Press.

“Wardlow senselessly executed elderly Carl Cole to steal his truck, something that could have been taken without violence because the keys were in it,” according to a petition filed with the Supreme Court by the Texas attorney general’s office, the AP reported.

The two other petitions involve what Burr described as ineffective counsel and an incorrect waiving of another appeal in state and federal court.

Burr said he has also requested with the Texas Supreme Court to withdraw the execution order because of the risk amid the pandemic and the “huge rise of COVID-19 cases in Texas.”

A judge moved Wardlow’s execution date from April 29 to July 8 because of the pandemic. Six executions scheduled in Texas for earlier this year were postponed by the courts because of the outbreak.

Texas is among the states that have seen an increase in coronavirus cases, the daily rate of positivity, hospitalizations and deaths, according to an ABC News analysis.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied a request to delay Wardlow’s execution or commute his sentence to life in prison on Monday, Burr said.

Wardlow’s execution time is set for 6 p.m. CST, but can occur any time after that until midnight, according to Robert C. Hurst, a spokesman at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Jason Clark, chief of staff at the state’s Department of Criminal Justice, told ABC News the agency can “carry out the process safely for those participating and witnessing the execution.”

Witnesses will have their temperature taken, will be provided with a mask and be spaced out, Clark said. No more than five witnesses are allowed for the inmate and victim each, a limit that predates the pandemic.

If carried out, it will be Texas’ third execution of the year. The two others took place in Jan. 15 and Feb. 6.

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Ivory Coast Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly Dies After Cabinet Meeting

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Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister and the governing party’s candidate for the October presidential election, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, has died just days after returning from two months of medical treatment in France.

The 61-year-old, who had heart surgery in 2012, became unwell during a weekly cabinet meeting and was taken to a hospital where he passed away on Wednesday, President Alassane Ouattara said in a statement read on national television.

“Fellow compatriots, Ivory Coast is mourning. It is with deep pain that I announce to you that Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly has left us,” Ouattara said in a statement read by the presidency’s secretary-general.

Gon Coulibaly had returned to Ivory Coast last Thursday after two months in France to undergo a heart exam and rest.

Gon Coulibaly’s death is likely to set off a scramble within the governing RHDP party to replace him as its candidate in an election that is considered a key test of stability for the world’s top cocoa producer.

Ouattara’s first win in 2010 over incumbent Laurent Gbagbo sparked a brief civil war in which about 3,000 people died, and political tensions have been rising ahead of October’s poll.

Ouattara designated Gon Coulibaly as the RHDP candidate in March after announcing he would not seek a third term.

Gon Coulibaly sought medical care in France in May, saying it was only for a checkup. He was allowed to travel abroad despite Ivory Coast’s airports being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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