Government, through the Minister of Justice, has quickly moved in to prepare an amendment to the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act (PPE) which, if it passes, will see 50% +1 being applied to the presidency only not MPs and Councillors.
The move follows pronouncements by the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) that it is going to use 50 %+1 to determine a winner in any parliamentary and local government election as ruled by the Supreme Court.
According to a bill Nyasa Times has seen, titled ‘An Act to amend Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act,’ it reads: “The Parliamentary and Presidential Act is amended, in Section 96, by deleting subsection (5) and replacing it with the following new subsection (5)—
“(5) Subject to the Constitution and this Act, in any election—
(a) The candidate for election to the office of the President who obtains the majority of more than fifty percent of the valid votes cast at the poll; and
(b) The candidate for election as a member of the National Assembly who obtains the greatest number of the valid votes cast at the poll,…shall be declared by the Commission to have been duly elected.”
Government wants the 50-percent-plus-one vote system to apply to presidential election while leaving parliamentary and local government elections to use first-past-the-post or simple majority.
The historic presidential election nullification judgement interpreted “majority” as 50-percent-plus-one vote and the system was used in determining the court-ordered June 23 Fresh Presidential Election.
However, Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Chifundo Kachale, a judge of the High Court of Malawi, said parliamentary and local government results will be determined by the 50-percent-plus-one vote system. Starting with the forthcoming by-elections.
He said the decision was informed by the judgement of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court and upheld by the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, that the definition of “majority” in determining a winner in the election is 50-percent-plus-one.