MEC faults court’s ruling on 50+1 electoral system

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has faulted the Constitutional Court’s fresh interpretation of the meaning of the term ‘majority of the electorate’.

According to MEC, the court’s interpretation of Section 80(2) of the Constitution of Malawi was wrong in law.

The Constitutional Court on Monday provided its interpretation 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.”

According to the court, the section means that for 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 of vote of the total valid votes cast during the presidential elections.

The court then ordered that 50+1 electoral system should be used in the fresh elections and in future presidential elections.

It also ordered Malawi Parliament 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.

But in its appeal against the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Friday, MEC argued that the court should have been bound by a Supreme Court ruling of 1999 which found that the term “majority of the electorate” never entailed that the majority should reach the 50 percent plus one threshold.

“The court’s finding on the meaning of the term “majority of the electorate” was wrong in law,” MEC said.

The commission also argued that the petitioners in the elections case – Saulos Chilima and Lazarus Chakwera – did not argue upon the issue of majority during the hearing hence the respondents deemed the matter abandoned.

MEC then asked the Supreme Court of Appeal to set aside the Constitutional Court judgement and all reliefs granted under it and to discharge all consequential orders.

Hearing for the application to set aside the judgement will be on Tuesday.

 

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