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Main opposition Malawi Congress Party has threatend to the country “ungovernable” if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government fails to bring an Electoral Reforms Bill in Parliament next month.
African Union (AU) Election Observation Mission Report for 2014 elections specifically recommended, among other things, the review of the current electoral system to ensure that the country’s President is elected by popular vote.
The mission also called for the amendment of the electoral laws to further strengthen Malawi Electiral Commission’s powers to monitor internal party democracy saying; “for instance, the post-election standoff over the results would perhaps have been avoided if a second round of the vote would have been necessitated under a 50%+1 electoral system.”
But President Peter Mutharika is on record urging the electoral body to resist the temptation to push for changes as a response to sectoral complaints “s as opposed to a real and genuine national concern.”
MCP, however, has demanded government to bring to parliament an Electoral Reforms Bill next month, threatening to make the country “ungovernable” in a peaceful way if the Mutharika administration frustrates the electoral reforms.
“We are demanding that government should bring to Parliament all relevant electoral reforsm Bills and if government is not ready, the President must resign or we will call for civil disobedience,” MCP spokesman Alekeni Menyani is quoted in The Nation newspaper of Friday as saying.
Menyani also said MEC should relocate its headquarters to the capital Lilongwe and that MEC officials at constituency polling centres to announce the results of their constituency to the whole nation live from the same centres where they are counted and signed for by all parties in the presence of observers to do away with the errors and manipulations that creep into the tally sheets as they travel long distances to reach the national tally centre.
He said the electoral reforms, including a 50-plus-one electoral system of electing a President.
In the May 2014 Tripartite Elections, Mutharika won the presidential election with 36 percent of the votes cast while MCP’s Rev Lazarous Chakwera came second with 27 percent.
If Malawi had a 50-plus-one electoral system, there would have been a rerun of the presidential election after May 20 2014.
Chakwera is on record saying that his party would table a private members’ bill if government fails to bring to Parliament an amendment to electoral laws .
Boniface Dulani (PhD), a political science lecturer at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), noted that the electoral reforms have delayed and expressed the hope that “all the parties including the ruling party, would support the reforms.”
Minister of Information and Communication, Malison Ndau said the electoral reforms were being handled by Malawi Law Commission and hinted that no Bill has been drafted or that parliament will deliberate the matter in November.
In their 2014 post-election reviews, various stakeholders, including MEC, Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn), National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust and Public Affairs Committee (PAC) recommended electoral reforms.
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