Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, says he is expecting the tabling of the Electoral Reforms Bill in National Assembly including the 50+1 electoral system for deciding the presidential vote in the November meeting of Parliament.
Msowoya said after an interface meeting with governance watchdog Public Affairs Committee (PAC) on Wednesday who lobbying him to ensure that Electoral Reforms and Local government Council Composition laws are in the business schedule for the House which meets for a new session.
He said the Business Committee of the House comprising of leaders of partis which the Speaker chairs, will meet Friday to discuss on the business to be conducted during the sitting which starts on November 10.
Msowoya, however, pointed out that government expressed commitment to table the Electoral Reforms Bill and that they can ensure the Bills be presented “within the first or second week to allow time for consultations.”
PAC chairperson Reverend Felix Chingota said “there is commitment from government to present the bills” and wanted to persuade the Speaker to ensure the Bills are tabled in good time to allow the MPs to “sufficiently debate.”
Chingota said Malawians are keen to see the passing of 50+1 electoral system “so that a national leaders should be elected by the majority.”
He said: “If these bills are not tabled, Malawians will be free to express their anger in whatever way and we don’t want to reach that stage.”
The Special Law Commission on the Review of Electoral Law recommended the enactment of six pieces of legislation, among them one which would provide for the transition between one President to another.
The Bills, collectively called Electoral Reforms Bill, are Constitution (Amendment), Electoral Commission (Amendment), Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections, Assumption of the Office of President (Transitional Arrangement) and Referendum.
EU Election Follow-up Mission (EU-EFM), which followed up on recommendations made after the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, said reforms are critical especially at this time when the country is preparing for the 2019 general elections.
The EU-EFM leader of delegation Birgittee Markussen, who said the reforms are key to free, fair and transparent elections, noted that based on the recommendations the EU Observer Mission made in 2014, Malawi seems to be taking important steps.
Said Markussen: “The main challenges in the conduct of polls in 2014 were related to voter registration, preparations, results management, and malpractices during campaign and handling of results.
“We note that the Malawi Electoral Commission [MEC] has started addressing some of the issues administratively and it looks promising.”
In the May 2014 Tripartite Elections, President Peter Mutharika won the presidential election with 36 percent of the votes cast while Lazarous Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) came second with 27 percent.
If Malawi had a 50-plus-one electoral system, there would have been a rerun of the presidential election after May 20 2014.
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