LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Special Law Commission on the review of Electoral Law, has recommended drastic changes to be made in the way general elections are handled, advancing that the country should adopt the 50+1 system for electing the head of state, and governments. The electoral clause will provide that for a person to be declared the winner in presidential elections, he or she must acquire 50+1 percent of the total votes cast.
In its final report presented to the media in the capital Lilongwe, on Wednesday, the commission reviewed the present clause that allows the election of the president through “first-past-the post mode,” is embroiled with challenges regarding the legitimacy of the winner who sometimes gets less than 50% of the total votes cast.
The new proposal of 50+1, would lead to amending Section 96 (5) of Parliamentary and Presidential Elections. As it stands, it stipulates that any candidate who obtains the majority vote count of votes, shall be declared as the winner.
The Special Law Commission on the review of Electoral Law chairperson, Anthony Kamanga, informed the media that the special commission also proposes that there should be minimum educational qualifications for persons seeking elective office; the current law does not provide this type of yard stick, only requires a candidate can speak and read English, and 35 years in age for presidential elections.
The report recommends that presidential candidates, and their running mates should possess at minimum, a first degree or its equivalent from a recognized or accredited institution.
The Special Law Commission on the review of Electoral Law, propose that for candidates desiring participate in Parliamentary and local councils elections, requires aMalawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE), and should be able to comfortably read and speak in English.
The report further proposes special parliamentary seats for women in each district in the country, to ensure that women occupy a certain minimum number of seats in the national assembly.
The special commission also recommends that 30-day transition period before the president and vice president are sworn in after the elections.
Furthermore, the Special Law Commission on the review of Electoral Law, consolidate and harmonize all electoral laws to ensure that they speak the same language such as the introduction of six bills including Constitution (Amendment), Electoral Commission (Amendment), Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections, Elections Management Fund, and Assumption of the Office of President of Referendum.
The recommendations in the report are yet to be presented to electoral stakeholders after waiting for years ahead of 2019 tripartite elections with the aim of having fair and credible election results.