The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has warned political parties against inducing or influencing a candidate to withdraw from the by-elections slated for October 7.
The Commission says those found guilty risk a fine of up to K500,000 and two years imprisonment.
Chief Elections Officer Willie Kalonga stressed that a duly nominated candidate can only be withdrawn once he or she effects a written notification that is signed personally.
“A candidate cannot be withdrawn from elections through a letter, press release, utterance or any communication from political party or any leader,” Kalonga said.
Under Section 46 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act and also section 38 of Local Government Elections Act, a candidate can be withdrawn from election upon giving a written notification, signed personally, to the Returning Officer.
“Where a candidate voluntarily withdraws from an election, there is no refund for nominations fees,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Commission is scrutinising names of aspiring candidates having received the nomination papers on Tuesday.
The electoral body will conduct Parliamentary and Local Government by-elections for Thyolo East and Blantyre North Constituencies; Lisanjala Ward in Machinga Likwenu Constituency; Kandeu Ward in Ntcheu North East; Lifupa Ward in Kasungu West Constituency; Mbalachanda Ward in Mzimba Central Constituency; and Zgeba Ward in Karonga Nyungwe Constituency.