Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara says the House is ready to consider and pass the bill on 50+1 electoral system by 24 February this year as ordered by the Constitutional Court.
Speaking today at Parliament building in Lilongwe, Hara assured Malawians that the National Assembly is ready to carry out its legislative and oversight roles as directed by the Constitutional Court.
In its ruling on Monday, the Court which nullified the 2019 presidential elections told Parliament to make appropriate provisions for the holding of the Presidential run off in the event that no single candidate secures the constitutional majority under section 80 (2) of the Constitution as interpreted by the court.
Hara noted that the new interpretation of Section 80 (2) – which means the winner of presidential polls will have to get 50 percent plus one vote of total votes cast – requires enabling legislation.
To comply with the court order, the National Assembly has made arrangements for the Legal Affairs Committee as well as the public Appointments Committee to come up with necessary reports and draft Bills to put into effect the orders of the court.
Hara added that Parliament is liaising with the Office of the Solicitor General on the possibility of complementing each other in coming up with such Bills to be passed by the House during the forthcoming 3rd Meeting of Parliament in the 48th Session.
“Through the Business Committee which met on 5th February, 2020, space has been provided for the Bills and committee reports to be considered and passed/adopted by the House before 24th February, 2020 when the 21 days period ordered by the Constitutional Court comes to an end,” she said.
According to Hara, the measures Parliament has taken will also provide enabling legislations for other orders which the court directed at Parliament.
The other orders include making legislation on the date of general elections to ensure that the president elected during the fresh elections to be held this year is allowed to serve the constitutionally prescribed five-year term.
The court also told the Public Appointments Committee of the National Assembly to inquire into the capacity and competence of the Malawi Electoral Commission’s current commissioners, to oversee the conduct of the fresh elections;
It further told Parliament TO amend section 75 (1) of the Constitution so that the appointing authority of the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission is clearly provided for.