Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika is leading his rivals after the counting of 75% of votes in Tuesday’s fiercely contested election, partial results released by the electoral commission show.

The 78-year-old Mr Mutharika has so far obtained 40% of votes cast compared with the 35% of main opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera, and the 18% of Vice President Saulos Chilima, according to the partial results.

“It feels excellent. The results are within our predictions but certainly we are not naive enough to celebrate before the final whistle is blown,” Ben Phiri, the campaign manager of Mr Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), told the media.

Malawi has a winner-takes-all system, with no run-off election.