Voting is taking place to elect new MPs in three constituencies and three Loal Government wards by-elections wish early huge turnout registered for people casting their votes when polling stations opened at 6am which will remain opened until 6pm.
Many analysts have described the by-elections as a big test for the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) ahead of 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Nyasa Times correspondents in all constituencies said there were early queue of voters.
The by-elections are taking place in Lilongwe City South East and Lilongwe Msozi North constituencies for a member of parliament in the Central Region..
There is also a contest of Local Government wards in Msiriza in Lilongwe City West Constituency and Mayani North in Dedza North constituency.
Ernest Thindwa, who teaches political science at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said if DPP loses in the Central Region “it will not be as a big deal as losing in Nsanje Lalanje”.
He said a loss in Nsanje Lalanje would affect DPP morale and “dampen their spirits.”
However, Thindwa said the results will not be a final indicator for 2019 polls.
In the Southern Region, the by-elections are taking place in Nsanje Lalanje Constituency and Ndirande Makata Ward in Blantyre Malabada constituency.
Mustapha Hussein, another political analyst based at Chancellor College, said Nsanje Lalanje is a litmus test for DPP, saying a loss will not be a good sign as “it may mean the MCP is getting a foothold in the Southern Region” which has been the political bedrock of the ruling party.
Malawi Electoral Commission(MEC)said there are 38 969 voters in the Southern Region by-elections and 121 507 voters across four areas in the Central Region.
“I have been waiting here since 5.30,” said Mary Nkhoma, 28, a voter in Lilongwe.
MEC chairperson Jane Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, on Monday pledged the commission to provide free, credible and fair by-elections.
Ansah said MEC was firm in ensuring that vote counting be done at all polling centres “in full view of all monitors.”
As part of electoral reforms, results will be presented both in figures and words at the centres to avoid suspicious of manipulation of figures in transit to the main tally centres.
Commentators have asked the winners to embrace their victory with humility and the losers to accept the results with grace and honour as it is only 19 months to the next elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :