Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has postponed the by-elections which were set for September 13, saying it is not safe to proceed with the conduct of the by-elections due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
MEC chairperson Dr. Chifundo J. Kachale has announced the postponement today in a press statement.
According to Kachale, the decision to postpone the by-election to October has been made following a meeting with the Presidential Covid-19 Task Force and the Board for Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) which is a representative body of all political parties represented in Parliament
“The parties to the meeting, having considered the epidemiological information presented by the Presidential Covid-19 Task Force, decided that it is not safe to proceed with the conduct of the by-elections as set and strongly recommended to the Commission that the elections be deferred to October, 2021 when the Covid-19 infection rates are projected to decline,” said Kachale.
MEC planned to hold by-elections in Nkhotakota North East Constituency formerly held by late Martha Chanjo Lunji of the Democratic Progressive Party who died on 13th July, 2021.
By-elections were also expected to be conducted in Dedza Central East Constituency formerly held by late Mcsteyn Swithin Mkomba of the Malawi Congress Party who died on 27th July, 2021 as well as in Chimwalire Ward in Balaka South Constituency held by Councillor Josephy Daniel.
Meanwhile, the Commission will engage the Speaker of Parliament for a waiver of the requirement under section 63 (2) (b) of the Constitution that by-elections must “be held within sixty days after the seat of the member becomes vacant or if in the opinion of the Speaker the circumstances do not so admit, then expeditiously as possible after the expiry of that period.”
When the waiver is granted, the Commission will issue a revised calendar for the by-elections which will carry a new date of polling.