Embattled Malawi president dissolves cabinet

FILE - In this file photo dated Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, Malawi's President Peter Mutharika meets with reporters at the US-Africa Summit at the Institute of Peace in Washington, USA. Deadly mob attacks on people suspected to be "vampires" have led about 140 arrests in Malawi, Friday Oct. 20, 2017, and President Peter Mutharika has appealed for calm, as the situation has spun out of control according to the Inspector General of Police Lexon Kachama. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, FILE)

LILONGWE – Malawi President Peter Mutharika dissolved his cabinet on Friday ahead of a possible presidential election in May.

The Constitutional Court last month annulled Mutharika’s victory in the May 2019 presidential election, ordering a re-run within 150 days after opposition parties said there were irregularities in the vote.

Mutharika has appealed the Constitutional Court decision.

In a statement announcing Mutharika’s decision to dissolve cabinet, the chief secretary to government said the president would assume all cabinet duties until new ministers were appointed.

The statement did not give a reason for the decision.

Local news reports have speculated that Mutharika wants to appoint members of an opposition party, the United Democratic Front (UDF), to his cabinet. Mutharika’s party recently entered into an alliance with the UDF.

Reporting by Frank Phiri; Editing by Alexander Winning and Daniel Wallis