Ballot papers for Malawi’s Tripartite Elections on 20th May elections arrive into the country on Saturday and Sunday at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe.
Chief Elections Officer for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Willie Kalonga said the ballot papers were produced in South Africa at a secure printing facility monitored and overseen by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) as well as representatives from UNDP and the Centre for Multiparty Democracy representing Malawi’s political parties.
He says the ballots will be transported from South Africa using two chartered flights which will deliver the 200 tons of almost 24 million ballots and blind voting templates.
“The presidential ballot, 193 parliamentary ballots and 460 local government ballots have numerous security features and each ballot was approved by Commissioners of the MEC prior to being printed,” Kalonga says.
The printing of the ballots has been undertaken with support from UNDP and funding by Malawi’s Development Partners through the Basket Fund to support Malawi’s elections.
To ensure transparency MEC is inviting representatives of political parties, media, civil society, election observers and the international community to witness the arrival and off-loading of the ballots.
Meanwhile, t he European Union (EU) Delegation in Malawi has ruled out chances of rigging in the upcoming Tripartite Elections, but says it anticipates logistical hiccups which are normal in any election.
EU head of delegation Alexander Baum, whose delegation has brought in an independent EU Electoral Observer Mission which started work two weeks ago, is quoted by The Nation that the EU expected the elections to be conducted in a professional and impartial manner.
“On the rumours of rigging, I think the danger of that happening is rather limited. We expect hiccups, because no elections can go without challenges. Logistically, it’s a complex process so we don’t expect the elections to be 100 percent perfect,” the daily quoted Baum .
EU has contributed about a third to the electoral budget and supported civic and voter education through National Initiative for Civic Education as well as electoral stakeholders, including the police and journalists.