Pollster, the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said it will now have fixed dates for by elections for proper planning and budgeting.
MEC chairman Mackson Mbendera said all by elections, whether parliamentary or local government will now be held in April and October to enable both the government and the pollster plan and prepare the by-elections to detail unlike the current arrangement when they are held ad-hoc.
The current laws provide that by-elections should be held 60 days after the death or resignation of elected office bearers.
Mbendera said this on Friday in Zomba during the opening of a two day workshop for polling staff at Zomba Chisi where a by election would be held on December 22 following the death of member of parliament for the area Peter Mangulenje.
The main battle is between the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its archrival the People’s Party (PP).
The United Democratic Front (UDF) is supporting the ruling party candidate as it is not fielding a candidate.
It would be a great surprise for the main opposition, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to grab the parliamentary seat from the DPP.
Independent candidate cannot be ruled out in taking the seat.
Mbendera asked the polling staff to be neutral, saying MEC would take action against any partisan staff during the election.
However, Mbendera did not mention tax payers funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation which is blatantly biased towards the ruling party as opposition party rallies are not covered.