Members of Parliament (MPs) from Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on Tuesday decided to end the boycott of the parliament after government promised to table Electoral Reforms Bill in earnest.
MCP led by its president who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera Monday afternoon walked out of the House in protest against the missing of the Electoral Reforms Bill on the day’s Order Paper as promised by government.
Chakwera accused government of lacking seriousness by neglecting the promises it made on the inclusion of the Electoral Reforms Bills on the Order Paper—an outline of the day’s business in the National Assembly.
“Until the Electoral Reforms Bills appear on the Order Paper, we [MCP] will not come back to the House. This is not right and time is running out,” said Chakwera.
Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa informed the Business Committee, which comprises leaders of the parties represented in Parliament and is chaired by the Speaker, that government will start tabling the bills.
The opposition, civil society and Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a quasi-religious organisations, are pushing government of President Peter Mutharika on the enactment of the Electoral Reforms Bills, including the provision of 50+1 proposal of electing the President to replace the much-maligned First-Past-the-Post.
The Law Commission recommended the following Bills collectively called Electoral Reforms Bills: Constitution (Amendment), Electoral Commission (Amendment), Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act (PPEA) and Local Government Elections Act, Assumption of the Office of President (Transitional Arrangement) and Referendum.
The most contentious of the Bills relate to the amendment of Section 80 (2) of the Constitution and Section 96 (5) of the PPE Act to provide for a change of the electoral system from a simple majority to a majority of more than 50 percent in the presidential race.
The Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill as proposed by the Special Law Commission recommended the enactment of the Elections Management Fund to ensure Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is financially autonomous.
It also proposed changes in the appointment of the MEC chairperson as well as composition of the commissioners.
The Referendum Bill, on the other hand, aims to introduce legislation on how to conduct a referendum as one does not exist currently.
The Assumption of the Office of President (Transitional Arrangement) proposes amendment to the Constitution to allow that swearing in of President and Vice-President be done after 30 days not within 30 days as prescribed in Section 81 (3) of the ConstitutionFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :