Parliament on Tuesday set June 23rd as the day Malawians will vote in the fresh presidential election

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has been dealt with a heavy blow after their efforts to have the date for fresh poll reversed proved futile as the opposition Members of Parliament vehemently denied to discuss the bill today Wednesday.

On Tuesday the opposition and some independent MPs in the Parliament hijacked government business through a provision on Standing Order 211 and managed to set 23 June as the date of fresh presidential election amid protests from the government side.

The motion was moved by the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) Mzimba North lawmaker Yeremiah Chihana and it was seconded by Lilongwe Mpenu MP, Eisenhower Mkaka of Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

But today Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bright Msaka instead of presenting four bills government was supposed to present, indicated that they would present only two bills that is bill number 11, 2020, Constitutional amendment of section 80.

This bill proposes amendment to provide for date for holding fresh presidential elections on June 23 2020.

The other bill was for Members of Parliament liberty to determine whether they want Malawi to maintain the previously used first past the post system or change to the 50+1 system as determined by the court.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ben Phiri also insisted that the house ought to amend the Constitution to set the date for fresh polls saying what happened on Tuesday (setting the date) amounts to “raping” the procedure.

However, opposition members opposed to the motion by Msaka saying the house already set the date through a resolution yesterday.

Standing on a Point of Order, Lilongwe City West MP George Zulu said it was not right for the minister to bring the bills when the date was already decided.

However, 88 members said yes to a motion to waive the 28-day notice to have the Minister of Justice to table the Constitutional Amendment bill (section 80), 81 said no while 20 were absent.

This means the motion to present the constitutional amendment bill is granted.

However, the bill requires two thirds of the house to pass.

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The bill gives members of Parliament liberty to determine whether they want Malawi to maintain the previously used first past the post system or change to the 50+1 system as determined by the court.

The last time the legal affairs committee of Parliament presented a similar bill in the house it could not get a required two-third majority and it was defeated.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bright Msaka, while winding up debate, mocked the opposition saying they only win elections in court and not on the ballot.

The remarks came amidst a verbal war between the two opposite sides in the chamber that has characterised debate this today.

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