Adopt 50% + 1 law of electing president, urges MP Lunguzi

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) MP for Dedza East, Juliana Lunguzi has urged lawmakers to consider amending the electoral law on electing a Head of State from the current first-past-the-post and adopt a 50 per cent plus one law to ensure that the winner of presidential elections enjoyed majority support.

She said a national leader that exercised state power over the population must enjoy the greatest possible majority endorsement of the people and the 50 per cent plus one rule ensured that status.

He said 50 per cent plus one law would help to avoid the elected president being regarded as a minority leader.

Lunguzi: Majoritarian mandate
Lunguzi: Majoritarian mandate

Where in a general election there is no candidate who gather 50 percent, there should be a run off for the top two candidates to determine the winner.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Peter Mutharika was declared the winner of Malawi’s May 20 disputed presidential election after defeating president Joyce Banda.

Mutharika, the brother of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, took 36.4 percent of the votes cast, Lazarus Chakwera of MCP garnered 27.8 percent of the vote and Banda’s 20.2 percent.

Lunguzi pointed out in parliament on Tuesday: “The fact that all reports and articles on the May 20 elections contain the word ‘chaotic’ is a wakeup call for this House and the Executive. The Malawi Electoral Commission and the attendant legislation need a complete overhaul. The sooner, the better.”

According to Lunguzi 50 per cent plus one rule guarantees the leader acceptable, popular, majoritarian mandate.

“We must now move forward to a state where Malawi should have a president who should not be booed in this House because of the manner in which the tallying of the votes has been done or because they have won with a minority of the vote,” said Lunguzi.

She said parliament should be “bold” to enact legislation that will enable the president from the next election “to enjoy the dignity of winning with at least 51 per cent of the vote.”

“We owe it to future generations to fix the rampant anomalies and to avert possible unrest from electoral chaos; just as we owe who so ever wins not to win with the taste of bile in their mouth,” said Lunguzi.

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) boss Timothy Mtambo has also called for the “need to go to the 50 plus one electoral system.”

Malawi Law Society (MLS) President Mandala Mambulasa said the 50 plus one campaign has to be debated further by all stakeholders.

“Take, for instance, this year’s elections. With 12 presidential candidates, it is unrealistic to expect one candidate to get 50 plus one of the votes, unless other things in the law also change.

“We made a call just a week before the elections that the nation needs to review electoral laws immediately after the elections,” Mambulasa said.

Malawi’s last month elections was marred by “serious irregularities.”

It was dogged by controversy from the start, with some polling stations opening 10 hours late and some voting stations recording more votes than there were registered voters.

One person was killed when police fired teargas and rubber bullets at protesters demanding a recount in the eastern lakeshore district of Mangochi.

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