No substitute of candidates, rules Malawi Electoral Commission

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has announced no political party will be allowed to substitute candidates for May 20 tripartite after the closure of the nomination process.

Presentation of nomination papers by candidates for Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections starts this Monday. Presidential candidates will file their papers  at Comesa Hall in Blantyre.

According to a statement issued by the Çommission, political parties, at the National Elections Consultative Forum (NECOF) meetin held on January 31, proposed and the electoral body agreed to allow them substitute candidates who will fail to beat the eligibility criteria.

Justice Mbendera: No substitutes
Justice Mbendera: No substitutes

But the Commission has reversed its decision saying “there will be no substitution of candidates after the nomination period has closed.”

The statement, signed by MEC Chairperson Maxon Mbendera, the concession was made with a view to avoid wastage of time resulting from appeal processes to the High Court.

“The Commission has studied and given due consideration to the applicable legal framework. The Commission has concluded that the proposed scheme for substitution after closure of nomination is not allowed under the laws and is unworkable.”

“Accordingly, all political parties and candidates are informed that the proposed scheme has and is nullified,” the statement reads.

The rationale of this reversal, according to the Commission, was discussed with Secretaries General of parties under the Centre for Multiparty Democracy on February 6, 2014.

“The meeting considered and agreed, among other issues, that the substitution arrangement is unworkable due to its negative potential to make the nomination processes uncertain and open ended,” says the Commission.

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