MEC sets campaign, voter registration dates for 6 June  by-elections

The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has disclosed dates for voter verification and registration as well as campaign for the 6th June, 2017 by-elections in four wards and constituencies.

Mathanga: Informed Legal Affairs Committee

Mec is expected to hold by-elections in Lilongwe Msozi North Constituency due to the death of Parliamentarian Highton Jiya; Lilongwe City South East Constituency following Supreme Court of Appeal order for re-run due to irregularities that were experienced in the May 2014 parliamentary elections; Mayani North Ward in Dedza North Constituency due to the death of the Councilor Peter Chimanzie; and Mtsiliza Ward in Lilongwe City West Constituency due to the death of Councilor Rodney Nsona.

Commissioner Dr. Jean Mathanga told Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament on Thursday that official campaign period for the by-elections will start on 17th May, 2017 and will end at6am on 4th June, 2017.

“The Commission will open centres for registration and voter verification from 27th April to 1st May 2017. Centres will be open from 8am to 4pm throughout the period, including weekend and on the public holiday which is 1st May when the world commemorates Labour Day,” explains Mathanga.

She said the Commission would be registering first-time voters only, those who have attained the age of 18 after May 20th, 2014 Tripartite Elections or will turn 18 by 6th June, 2017.

“The Commission will not register any person who was eligible to register during the last registration exercise for the 2014 elections but failed to do so for whatever reason. The Commission will also not accept voter transfers. The MEC encourages political parties and candidates to put monitors who should come from the same area should be able to ensure that only those deserving are added on to the register.

All registered voters for the May 20, 2014 Tripartite Elections, whether they voted or not, should just verify their details in the voters’ roll at the centre where they registered. Registered voters who lost their voter certificates should go to the centre where they registered to get a replacement certificate that will enable them to vote.”

All candidates, including those who participated in past elections are allowed to participate in the by-elections have been asked to obtain nomination papers constituency or ward returning officers or respective council offices from 20th April, 2017.

The Commission is expected to receive the nomination papers on 12th May, 2017.

“The Commission has introduced a specific day in the by-elections’ calendar (11th May 2017) to give chance to contesting candidates to come to the Constituency or Ward Returning Officer for pre-examination of nomination papers. This arrangement does not preclude candidates from requesting the Returning Officer at any other point to examine the nomination papers and supporting documents before they are submitted,” she added.

According to Mathanga, the Commission has set 5th June, 2017 as a day when candidates will be allowed to inspect election materials including ballot papers, to ensure that they are correct and in right quantities.

The by-elections will be held on 6th June, 2017 from 6am to 6pm. Vote counting will start immediately after closing centres and results shall be tallied at the Constituency or Ward Returning Office.

Mec is expected to announce the results by 8th June, 2017. The tally centre for the June 2017 by elections will be established in Lilongwe.

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