As the country edges closer to the next Tripartite Elections in 2019, Malawi political parties represented in Parliament – except the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) – have expressed support to the proposed amendment of the system of electing the President from the current First-Past-the-Post to the 50-plus-one system.
The 50-plus-one system means that a winning candidate should amass more than 50 percent of the votes to be crowned president. Currently, Malawi uses the First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) electoral system. This allows whoever gets more votes than other candidates to be crowned president irrespective of whether the margin is minimal or large.
The Malawi Law Commission endorsed the proposed electoral reforms including the 50-plus-one system which is also called the Majoritarian electoral system in Political Science that allows the incumbent president to have legitimacy from the voters as most people will see the power of their votes being manifested in the man or woman they eventually send to State House.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Peoples Party (PP) and Alliance for Democracy have signalled that they will back a Bill on the proposed electoral reforms to enact the 50-plus-one presidential winning threshold in the new Constitution so that in future, Malawians should be governed by a president elected by a majority of voters.
“The opposition parties are pulling in one direction to support the electoral reforms,” Leader of Opposition and MCP president Lazarous Chakwera said in an interview with Nyasa Times.
PP leader in the House, Uladi Mussa said Malawians would not want to be ruled by a minority president again.
President Peter Mutharika won with only 36 percent of the vote.
“We will support the Bill to ensure the 50-plus-one presidential winning threshold is refleccted in the new Constitution,” said Mussa.
“Zambia implemented it and we all saw how it worked well. It is time we adopt the same,” he said.
Aford president Enoch Chihana said proposed electoral reforms by the Malawi Law Commission are “important for sustaining democracy” and one hardly needs to waste time justifying them.
United Democratic Front (UDF) which has a working relationship with DPP is also backing the electoral reforms, according to party spokesman Ken Ndanga, who said UDF will support the reforms.
But DPP director of elections Kondwani Nankhumwa , who is also Leader of the House, said the party has not made its stand on the matter.
Aparrently, the DPP is not too sure if come 2019 they will have the support of the voters to sail through without a re-run.
Other proposed electoral reforms are that the swearing-in of the President-elect and Vice-President should be done 30 days after voting. The aim is to give aggrieved parties a chance to file their complaints to the courts of law and be heard.
Another proposed electoral reform is that the presidential candidates and their running mates should have a minimum of a first degree or its equivalent from a recognised or accredited university.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :