General elections were held in Malawi on 20 May 2004 to elect a President and the National Assembly. The election had originally been scheduled for 18 May but was postponed for two days in response to opposition complaints of irregularities in the voter roll. By 22 May no results had been announced, leading to protests from the opposition and threats of disorder. On 25 May the Malawi Electoral Commission finally announced the results of the election. Bingu wa Mutharika, the candidate of the ruling United Democratic Front, was declared the winner of the presidential poll, whilst the Malawi Congress Party had won most seats in the National Assembly vote. Voter turnout was around 62%.
There were five candidates for the presidential election:
Gwanda Chakuamba, aged 69, was the candidate of a seven-party opposition coalition, the Mgwirizano Coalition or Unity Coalition. Chakuamba has a colourful past, having been a senior minister and militia commander under former President-for-life Hastings Banda. In 1980 he fell out with Banda, whose assassination he was accused of plotting. He spent 12 years in prison and emerged a popular hero, then succeeded Banda as leader of his party, the Malawi Congress Party.