50+1 to be used in Malawi presidential elections

The Constitutional Court on Monday said the 50+1 electoral system should be used in the fresh elections to be held this year as well as in future presidential elections.

The court said this in its ruling in the presidential elections case at the Lilongwe High Court where it also nullified the 2019 presidential elections.

Lead Judge Healey Potani presented during the ruling what the court interpreted as the true meaning of Section 80 (2) of the Constitution of Malawi which states that: “The President shall be elected by a majority of the electorate through direct, universal and equal suffrage.”

Potani said: “Any candidate to be duly elected to the office of president of the republic, such person must secure a minimum of 50 percent plus one vote of the total valid votes cast during the presidential elections.”

In the consequential orders, the Constitutional Court ruled that the 50 percent plus one vote system should be used in the fresh elections which will be held in five months.

The court said the Malawi Parliament should convene in 21 days to make provisions for holding of presidential run-off elections in the event of no single candidate securing a majority under the new interpretation of Section 80 (2) of the Constitution of Malawi.

Commenting on the ruling in a Facebook post, law expert Sunduzwayo Madise said what the judges ordered is no the law.

“The decision of the ‘ConCourt’ that electoral majority means 50%+1 is now law. It’s not a recommendation,” Madise said.

The court delivered its ruling in the elections case  on Monday months after UTM leader Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party Lazarus Chakwera filed petitions challenging the outcome of the now nullified May 21 Elections.