Parliament restricts 50%+1 to presidential elections

Malawi Parliament has passed a bill which restricts the use of 50%+1 system to presidential elections while the winner in Parliamentary and Local Government election will be the candidate who obtains the greatest number of valid votes cast.

The Parliamentary and Presidential Elections (amendment) Bill has been passed by the National Assembly today.

A few days ago, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) said it will extend the use of 50 percent plus one system of determining winner to parliamentary and local government elections following the presidential election court ruling that “majority” in section 80(2) of the Constitution means 50 percent plus one.

Minister of Justice Titus Mvalo who presented the bill argued that it would be expensive to hold several parliamentary and local government elections in cases where candidates fail to amass the 50 percent plus one of the votes cast.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesperson on legal affairs Bright Msaka said the proposal to extend 50 percent plus one system to parliamentary and local government elections was unfortunate.

He argued that Parliament makes the laws and the Judiciary is there to interpret the laws.

The bill received overwhelming support from Members of Parliament and was passed.

If assented to by President Lazarus Chakwera, it means that the candidate to be elected as president will be the one who obtains a majority of more than 50 percent of the valid votes cast as used in the June 23 Presidential Elections.

The candidate to be elected as Member of Parliament will be the one who obtains the greatest number of valid votes cast as it was in the 2019 Parliamentary elections.

On Tuesday, Parliamentary also passed the Constitutional Amendment Bill which, among others, seeks to extend the life span of the current Parliament to six years so that the next Parliamentary elections should be held in 2025.

The amendment further states that the President-elect and Vice President-elect should be sworn in after between seven and 30 days from their election to allow time for settling electoral disputes.

The extension of the life span of the current Parliament has become necessary because the current president and the current Parliament were elected one year apart. The extension means the next parliamentary and presidential elections will be held at the same time in 2025.

Advertisement