Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Member of Parliament for Lilongwe South, Peter Dimba on Thursday successfully tabled his motion seeking Parliament permission to bring a private member’s Bill to support the electoral reforms.
The Bill seeks to shiftingto 50-plus-one system of electing a State President from the current first-past-the-post and the amendment of electoral laws.
The legislation also wants no media house to announce un-official election results before reaching the authorized and established tally centre.
In the electoral reform recommendations, stakeholders, among others, recommended the amendment of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act and the Local Government Elections Act to be integrated into a single Election Act.
This comes after a report on wide consultation conducted by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) with major electoral stakeholders which revealed the need on how elections should be managed.
Dimba said the need for electoral reforms comes after a chaotic 2014 elections which was marred with irregularities.
“Basically these reforms should have come earlier than expected as you know MEC calendar involves preparation for election and the registration for voters.
“With these reforms all we want to achieve is excellence in how elections are managed,” he said.
The stakeholders also recommended financing of political campaigns be legislated to ensure transparency and accountability.
Further, the reforms propose a law to allow better management of the transition from polling day to the inauguration of the President and Vice-President to ensure sufficient time for a petition to be resolved prior to inauguration.
The stakeholders also called for amendment of Section 77 of the Constitution to establish the age of voter eligibility to be 18 years of age or older, on the day of the election and on polling as well as Section 67(1) of the Constitution for general elections to be conducted in September rather than May.
Other recommendations include empowering MEC to issue subsidiary legislation: in line with international best practice, the MEC should be empowered to issue Regulations on its key areas of competence and the election process under the Electoral Commission Act.
Recommendations were to establish a specific offence for vote buying (whether by handouts or other means) should be included in the election laws, as well as the Corrupt Practices Act to deter vote buying and staggered announcement of results as follows; seven days for the President, 14 days for National Assembly and 21 days for local councils.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :