Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has set October 17, 2017 as a date for the postponed by-elections.
In April Mec indefinitely postponed the highly contentious by-elections schedule for June 6th in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency, Lilongwe City South East Constituency, Nsanje Lalanje Constituency, Mayani North Ward in Dedza North Constituency, Mtsiliza Ward in Lilongwe City West Constituency and Ndirande Makata Ward in Blantyre Malabada Constituency.
The electoral body argued that it had no money to fund the by-elections which include the Supreme Court ordered rerun in Lilongwe South East Constituency, until the national budget for 2016/17 is endorsed by Parliament.
The development attracted various reactions from opposition political parties who accused government of deliberately postponing the elections.
Mec Chairperson Jane Ansah on Tuesday announced the by-elections will be held in October, thus after Parliament passed the national budget June 30..
“The Commission met on July 3 and 4, 2017 in Lilongwe to, among other things, deliberate on the conduct of by-elections in three constituencies and three wards which are currently vacant.
The Commission has resolved to conduct the by-elections on 17th October, 2017,” said Ansah in a press statement issued to Nyasa Times.
Following the announcement of the date the Commission will hold stakeholders’ meetings on 16th August, 2017 in all the six areas to explain more details about the electoral calendar.
Ansah said in coming up with the dates for the by-elections the Commission had considered the need of the electorate to have representation in Parliament and councils but also the period that it takes for funds to be transferred from the Treasury to Mec’s accounts.
“Four of the areas are where the by-elections were scheduled to take place on 6th June, 2017 but were postponed because government said funding would not be available. The remaining two areas have fallen vacant in between the period of postponement to date,” added Ansah.