Malawi 2014 polls: EC offers female candidates 25% discount, proposes change of voting time

Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has reduced nomination fees for female aspirants, for both Parliamentary and Local Government Elections, by 25 percent to encourage more women compete for positions.

Meanwhile, the Commission has recommended to Parliament to change the voting time in order to create more time for the institution to count votes soon after voting closes.

Speaking during a news briefing MEC conducted following the launch of Strategic Plan, Voter and Civic Education Calendar and May 2014 Tripartite Elections in Blantyre, the Commission’s Chairperson, Justice Maxon Mbendera said they have decided to offer female aspirant 25 percent discount in order to encourage the 50-50 campaign through what he termed as positive discrimination.

Presidential candidates are expected to pay K1, 000, 000.00 while Parliamentary candidates (male) will pay K200,000 and female K150, 000. Council candidates (male) will pay K20, 000 while female will contribute K15,000.

Rev Chinkwita flanked by Commissioners Stainley Billiati on the left and Elvy Mtafu to the right. Pic by Arnold Namanja (Mana).

Rev Chinkwita flanked by Commissioners Stainley Billiati on the left and Elvy Mtafu to the right. Pic by Arnold Namanja (Mana).

Justice Mbendera said: “Research and based on the statistics, women constitute 52 percent of the general population; but if you assess the percentages women constitute in terms of positions in government, private sector and even cabinet, you will note that they are not up to the required number. There is still gap to be filled if we are to say we have positively achieved the 50-50 campaign”.

He said the Commission would ensure women are given equal opportunities to participate in all the process s during the elections.

“Mec do sincere hope the 25 percent will increase women participation in positions. And let me encourage political parties to join the campaign by deliberately bringing on board women who form more than 52 percent of our population”.

Voting Time

And Mec Commissioner Ambassador Reverend Emmanuel Chinkwita-Phiri disclosed during the launch of Strategic Plan, Voter and Civic Education calendar and May 2014 Tripartite Elections that they have requested Parliament to amend the voting time as enacted in the current electoral laws.

“The voting time is between 6:00am to 6:00pm. But there is a need to change it to be between 6:00am to 4:00pm so that we have more time to count the votes. Its not that if the Parliament does not change the proposed time, we will be affected, it’s just a matter of allocating enough time for vote counting,” he said.

He added saying “We are not at panic but as you know once voting is closed, there is more work to be done in terms of counting”.

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