EU chief demands campaign funding transparency: Predicts Malawi tight presidential race

European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission Chief Observer, Veronique De Keyser says they expect political parties to open up and disclose their source of campaign funding as the country holds tripartite elections on May 20th, 2014.

Keyser speaking during an official launch of EU election observation mission in Blantyre- to assess the May 20th Tripartite Elections- said there was a need for both ruling and opposition parties to be transparent on their campaign funding.

This comes at a time the ruling People’s Party (PP) and the opposition parties including Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) have been accused of being secretive as to who is funding their operations.

Veronique De Keyser, chief of the European Union Election Observation Mission for the Malawi election
Veronique De Keyser, chief of the European Union Election Observation Mission for the Malawi election

“EU has made several recommendations. EU will love to see opening up of public media institution for all politicians, transparency of campaign funding and for officials to desist using State resources for campaign,” she said.

Keyser then predicted a very tight presidential election race with the fielding of several strong candidates by opposition parties.

She said the presence of several candidates from opposition parties signifies how Malawi has strongly embraced democracy.

“It should a very tight race with the both opposition and ruling party fielding strong candidates. We can’t predict who will win; our expectations are that the will of people is reflected in the elections results,” De Keyser said.

Keyser said despite Malawi holding several elections since attaining multiparty democracy in 1993, EU does not expect the country’s electoral system to be perfect, but pointed out that it is the wish of the Union to see progress.

“There are always irregularities. We don’t expect the system to be perfect, we don’t expect the electoral laws to be perfect, but we expect to see progress, and thus by working out on some of recommendations we highlighted,” she added.

she also disclosed had separately met with Malawi electoral Commission (Mec) Chairman Justice Maxon Mbendera and Chief Justice Anastasia Msosa in the bid for the country to have credible and transparent elections.

“Chairperson of Malawi Electoral Commission has assured us he has a team working on correcting some of the irregularities in voter register. We are impressed with Mec’s connection with civil society. It’s difficult to assess the Electoral Commission in a single day.

“I met the Chief Justice who also once served as chairperson for the Electoral Commission to understand how the judiciary has prepared for cases that will come up if there are any elections disputes. There is a need for room, channel for such process. Courts have to be ready to deal with the situation.”

EU Election Observation Mission comprises of over 80 observers from all 28 member countries and Norway. A core team of seven election analysts-with electoral, legal, political, human rights, media and data analysis expertise- arrived in Blantyre on April 12th followed by a group of 28 long term observers that were deployed across the country a few days after.

Shortly before elections day, 40 short-term observers will join the mission to observe voting, counting and tabulation of results. EU is expected to assess all aspects of electoral process and the extent to which the election process complies with national laws and international commitments agreed upon by the country.

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