50+1 is already law: Parliament defeats Constitution amendment, approves 2 Electoral Reforms bills
Legal experts have clarified that the contentious 50-plus-one provision of electing a president by majority is already law in the Constitution but Parliament on Thursday could not pass the Constitutional Amendment Bill, which had pe appropriate provisions for the holding of the presidential run-off in the event that no single candidate secures the constitutional majority under Section 80(2) of the Constitution as interpreted by the court.
The Bill, which was moved by Chitipa West Parliamentarian, Kezzie Msukwa, who is also chairperson for the parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee, sought to provide guidelines in the event that no candidate obtains a clear majority and there is a runoff.
So the percentage of votes to win the fresh elections is still 50-plus-one because the Constitution already requires this.
After the bill passed through all the required stages, Speaker of Parliament, Catherine Gotani Hara called on the members to vote to pass the bill. After the vote by 183 MPs present, 109 legislators voted ‘Yes’ for the bill, 72 mostly from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) voted against it, one abstained while 11 members were absent.
However, according to Speaker Hara, the votes in support of the bill failed to reach a two-thirds majority threshold required for Parliament to effect a constitutional ammendment.
“Since we did not reach two thirds of membership, the Bill has been defeated,” said Speaker Gotani Hara.
Msukwa then moved another motion to ask the House to meet this Friday from 2pm to find the way forward on how to deal with the consequences of failure to pass the bill. The Speaker granted him his wish.
Dean of the faculty of law at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, Sunduzwayo Madise, clarified that 50-plus-one was already declared law by interpretation of the Constitutional Court and parliament just needed to adopt the law and lay down the process of a run off in case no presidential candidate amasses such votes.
Another lawyer Bright Theu said the polarising First-Past-the Post (FPTP) will not be used on declaring the winner in presidential elections, saying the Constitution Court interperation made 50-plus-one “the law at the moment and determination of results will be based on it unless and until the Supreme Court [of Appeal] interprets the law differently.”
Minister of Justice, Bright Msaka Msaka said the motion for the amendment of the Constitution, especially Section 77 cannot be effected only by Parliament, but through a referendum, which he said was an anomaly in the Msukwa’s private members motion.
However, Msukwa, who moved the bill was quick to clarify that the rejection of the bill does not signify that the 50% plus 1 voting system has been shot down.
“This act was only looking to assign dates for a re-run because the 50% plus 1 is a law that was already there. That’s why I have moved the house to sit on Friday to deliberate the consequences of this rejected bill,” Msukwa said.
Msukwa further said that since all the other electoral reform bills hinged on the constitutional amendment bill, parliament will clear up the situation to ensure that the laws are clear and alligned.
Among others, the rejected bill sought to ammend Section 80 of the constitution and provide for the following provisions;
i) that a run-off be conducted 30 days after announcement of initial elections results.
ii) that the run-off be contested by the top two candidates in the initial election.
The bill also sought to determine the dates for the fresh and the next general election, in addition to extending the tenure of office for the current cohort of members of parliament and local government councilors up to May 2025.
Parliament, however, passed the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act (PPEA) and the Electoral Commission Act.– Additional reporting by Morton Sibale, Mana and Wongani Chiuta, Nyasa TimesFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :
Constitutional Crisis created by Constitutional court judges.50+1 shamelessly shot down.No beating about the bush.
If the law was there before why court ask the parliament to amend it.
Why the amendment requires third majority? In parliament. Opposition please and court please accept the will of the parliament, Judges are not above the parliament.
Mmalo moti zimenezo bwenzi mukukatoneni mu parliament ….Basi Kuthawamo muli busy ndi Ife pano pa Nyasatimes ….Ndipo mubwenze ma Allowance a lero Paja Zimatolowa zokha ku Bank…
Whether 50+1 or not we will vote for a leader with good vision of the nation as long as he/she puts Malawi first and not devides the nation and voted by many Malawians is welcome. We just need a better Malawi. 50+ 1 itself has nothing to help the nation.
Kodi wakumpoto ku Livingstonia uja amanena zolakwika zambali imodzi yokha yokha sakumveka bwanji. Amene uja oppppusa bwanji
Mwina iweyo ndamene Uli wopusa chifukwa Aku Livingstonia amanena zanzeru,kuposa Munthalika.Mwalephera kukonza dziko.
But he’s still the president
So if it is already law, why did high court ask parliament to adopt- not just impose it as what should be?
There is not a single electoral competition in Malawi that supports a 50+1, whether in sports, arts, or religion. Its always FPTP. Majority simply means more, even if one wins with 2 votes. If the principle of fairness is to be used then ward councillors and MPs should also be subjected to the 50+1. These judges overstepped their mandate, gave a verdict on political lines as if these are last elections Malawi will ever hold. This 50+1 spunds romantic but it is a precursor of more trouble in the future, especially for the Northern region.
Check the definition of majority first before you post your views here
Every well meaning northerner knows this 50+1 is effectively shutting the North out of power and development. The North has been in opposition since independence. The central region has been in opposition for only 27 years and the south for only 31 years…. Its the North which is constantly opposition and 50+1 makes that permanent signed into law and constition. The only time the whole was in opposition was during federation. Its not wrong to dream that a day will come when dpp and mcp bury the hatchet and decide to rule forever. then the North shall continue to be… Read more »
We in the north, no matter what can’t have a strong party with mbuzi za wanthu like kamlepo, Billy kaunda and the others who don’t like their electorates shame on them for they’re after enriching themselves. We’re always power hungry and too much of showing off. We’ll never have a good party since the demise of Aford vikundipweteka chomeni vyachitika vya ma mp yakwithu ku mpoto
Ndemanga zambiri zili mmunsimu zikuchita kuwonetsa umbuli ochita kudontha.
Koma mbuli za dpp inu! 50 + 1 is already there in the constitution inu simukumva pati? Ugong’oli thooooo! Kukakamira mtunda opanda madzii!
NDYE SIMUNAIGWILITSE NTCHITO PA ZISANKHO ZA 2019 BWANJI?
tiyankheni pamenepa bwana ozindikilanu
Zasanduka law after court interpretation
So why did they take it for ratification
Koma zikuoneka kuti you have a problem to understand our constitution in a queen language
ngati mukuti 50 plus 1 is already a law,bwanji simunaigwilitse ntchito mu zisankho za 2019?
musanamizepo anthu apa,50+1 yapoila basi.kkkkk Kaya ma judge 5 aja akuva bwanji kumenekoooooooooooo
Problem with malawians they do partisan politics not politics of service to the nation. Parliament didn’t shoot down the bill, dpp did as they always have been because they benefit from the current system. If you look at the votes the bill got is overwhelming only that it didn’t reach the required threshhold of 66 % as per law to pass it because of dpp MPs not parliament as a whole. So if we have to take it ddp-way of “first-past-the -post” then the bill should be passed because it got 109 votes against 72 votes who opposed it. So… Read more »
There is nothing to do with the judges BUT Malawians. The judges did what thr law rmpowers thrm to do. It wasn’t personal to them. Whether DPP, MCP, or UTM want it or not that is totally another story. Whoever refuses to pass it , it eill come to haunt him/hrr. Ask Honourable Patricia Kaliati. Nobody eill be in power forever.
muona kuti mutani
I thought the 5 judges also clearly stated that the 50+1 was already there in the laws but it was not used because it needed to interpolated well by the Parliament that’s why they asked the Parliament to pass the bill so that when approved then can start working. I don’t see anything wrong with the direction given by the judges if others as say yes /no then they might have the good or bad reasons behind it . Who makes laws in this case the Parliament or judges. If it was voted+ tippex all dpp mp’s would have voted… Read more »