Counting votes in Lilongwe. Photo: Amos Gumulira/AFP via Getty

It was not easy to force Malawi's president, Peter Mutharika, from power after a rigged election last year.

How it happened: It took the anger of protesters, the restraint of the army — which protected them rather than cracking down — and the bravery of judges who threw out the result despite attempts to intimidate them. It also took a united opposition. Finally, last week, it took a new election.

The latest: Malawi's electoral commission over the weekend declared Lazarus Chakwera, an opposition leader and former preacher, the runaway winner.

Why it matters: This is a surprising victory for democracy in the southern African country, and it could have ended very differently. Martha Chizuma, who leads Malawi's Human Rights Commission, hopes it will permanently shift Malawi's political trajectory:

"People have seen how politics affects their daily lives. For the past 13 months or so, Malawi’s democracy has matured, probably ten times over. The people of Malawi are quite awake now. I don’t think any Malawian will ever take any rubbish again."
Martha Chizuma, writing in The Continent

What to watch: The new government faces major challenges, and the surge of optimism may not last. But with democracy under strain around the world, Malawi has bucked the trend.

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Hundreds gather to pay tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg along Supreme Court steps

Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

At the Supreme Court steps Friday night hundreds of people gathered to pay tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — singing in a candlelight vigil, with some in tears.

Details: If there is a singular mood at the Supreme Court tonight, it’s some kind of a daze manifested by silence. 

A court fight for the ages

The flag flies at half-staff as people mourn on the Supreme Court steps last night. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Ruth Bader Ginsburg — feminist icon, legal giant, toast of pop culture — left this statement with granddaughter Clara Spera as cancer closed in: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

The big picture: For all that the nation owes "Notorious RBG" — the hip-hop-inspired nickname she enjoyed and embraced — Republicans are planning to do their best to be sure her robe is quickly filled, despite that last wish, with her ideological polar opposite.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:15 a.m. ET: 30,539,903 — Total deaths: 952,629— Total recoveries: 20,800,482Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:15 a.m. ET: 6,726,353 — Total deaths: 198,603 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.