Malawi Law Commission in electoral law reform consultations

The special Law Commission has launched regional consultative meeting aimed at soliciting views on the electoral law reforms.

Kamanga: Judge of Supreme Court
Kamanga: Electoral law reforms

After the 2014 tripartite elections, there has been an outcry on the need to change some laws as regards to the conduct, administration and management of elections.

The development forced government through the Law Commission to establish a special commission on electoral law reforms whose task was to solely solicit views from the people and make appropriate recommendations.

Speaking at the first regional meeting in Lilongwe on Monday, Chairperson of the commission, Justice Anthony Kamanga said the call for electoral law reforms spans across the two decades.

He said the need for the reforms intensified following assessment of the 2014 tripartite elections.

“Among other issues that we are going to look into include, political campaigns and handouts, Independence and accountability of the electoral commission, eligibility of voters and candidates and polling, publication of results and handover and inaugurations,” Kamanga pointed out.

The commission will also consider the composition of the electoral commission and the tenure of office for commissioners.

Normally, the constitution empowers the President to appoint commissioners for the Electoral Commission and they are, upon appointment, supposed to serve for four years unless re-appointed.

However, various proposals are being advocated for and  among them is that the appointment of the commissioners be done in consultation with all political parties represented in parliament and that the term for commissioners be increased to five years other than four.

“The general view is that among other gaps identified in our electoral system, there is no proper transition of power from one president to another where the swearing is within three days from the date of the announcement of the national results ignoring completely the 30 days envisaged by section 81(3) of the constitution.

“There are also differences in the way the candidates contesting for presidential, parliamentary and local government elections are assessed and Malawians have an opportunity to decide on this through our consultations,” Kamanga explained.

It is also believed that the commission will consider debating on the need for the country to adopt the 50+ 1 electoral system which suggests that a president must win with over 50 percent of the votes casted.

The country is currently using the plurality electoral system where seats are awarded to a candidate who has received the most votes in the elections.

Gertrude Hiwa, Law Commissioner said the reforms will also include demarcation of wards and constituencies, electoral dispute resolutions, referendum  and the harmonization  and consolidation of the electoral laws where the parliament Act and the local government Act has to speak the same language.

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DPP clueless
DPP clueless
5 years ago

DPP will die if you adopt 50+, rigging will not be easy to reach that

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