EU ready to fund Malawi local polls in 2014

Despite Malawi government’s talk about not having resources to run tripartite elections, the European Union (EU) has said it has the funds ready to the tune of 1.5 million Euros to support the 2014 elections including local government polls.

Malawi’s President Joyce Banda declared that government would not afford to hold three elections in 2014 while the Legal Affairs Committee in Malawi Parliament suggested that the tripartite polls be pushed to 2019 a move that commentators have said is aimed at frustrating local government elections again.

Malawi’s EU Ambassador Alexander Baum, however, has said the EU with other donors are ready to support the tripartite elections and was only waiting for government to make a commitment on the exercise.

Alexander Baum: EU head of delegation assures support for local polls

“Under the Democratic Governance Programme, EU has reserved 1.5 million Euros for direct support towards the attainment of free and credible 2014 parliamentary, presidential elections as well as local government elections whenever they are scheduled,” he said.

The Legal Affairs report also said time is not enough between now and 2014 to mobilise resources for activities such as reviewing of electoral laws and civic education.

But Baum said under the same programme EU is ready to support the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in the revision of electoral laws and procedures, registration of new voters and improving the voters’ roll.

Baum also said at the moment coordination of the support provided to MEC from different partners is being discussed.

Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN) has accused members of parliament and also government of not being serious on holding the local government elections in 2014 and said civil society organisation will not accept that the elections should again fail and be pushed to 2019.

Malawi last had local government elections in 2000 during President Bakili Muluzi’s reign and since then government has been playing hide and seek with a clear intention of denying people representation at the local government level.

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