Malawi 2014 polls will be challenging –Commonwealth SG

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said Malawi’s first ever tripartite elections in 2014 will be “challenging” and called for thorough preparations to ensure they meet the standards of democratic polls.

Sharma told a news conference in Lilongwe on Tuesday after the end of his visit to Malawi. He had held talks with Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika Monday evening at the New State House.

He said since Malawi will be holding presidential, parliamentary and local government elections together, the country should “ensure facilities are available and in place in time” for the polls.

President Mutharika speak during a reception in honour of Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma at the New State House

Sharma stressed that the tripartite elections will be “challenging” and said there is an urgent need to reform the country’s electoral system.

The Secretary General also met leader of opposition John Tembo and civil society leaders. Sharma said he discussed current political, economic and social developments in the country and explored the range of support the Commonwealth can mobilise.

He however could not comment on the country’s socio-political problems.

Sharma has since left for Kigali, Rwanda where he will hold talks President Paul Kagame and receive a honourary degree before leaving for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the 28th of January where he will attend the African Union Summit.

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