LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) on Monday, rebuffed the main opposition party in parliament, the Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) demand for a re-run instead of a by-election in the Lilongwe City South East Constituency. MEC argues that the country does not have laws to support such kind of elections.
As a result, the commission will conduct the by-elections in the constituency slated for June 6, 2017, which will be an open race to all interested parties and individuals.
MEC spokesperson Sangwani Mwafulirwa, said that the electoral body had full understanding of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal ruling of the re-run of the May 20, 2014 parliamentary polls in the area.
Mwafulirwa said the commission’s decision for a fresh elections, was based on Section 100 (4) of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections (PPE) Act, which calls for such a poll in a situation where the court nullifies an election.
He added that the law used to litigate over the matter, hence the MEC’s resolution to hold the by-elections and not a re-run as per MCP’s demand.
MEC spokesperson noted that the court judgment only gave the commission the direction on how to conduct the re-run, which must be in line with the country’s electoral law.
The said electoral law section reads: “Pursuant to an order of the High Court…declaring that the National Assembly or the President…was not duly elected, a fresh election for the seat…shall be held in accordance with Act”.
Concurring with the commission, Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) Chairperson, Steve Duwa, chided the MCP and accused it as merely dragging the matter.
Duwa said the MCP needed only to support and implement what was discussed and agreed upon during the National Elections Consultative Forum (NECOF), that a by-election was the way to go as the country does not have laws regarding to re-run.
But MCP’s Second Secretary-General Eisenhower Mkaka, expressed sadness over MEC’s stand to hold by-elections instead of a re-run. He argues that the decision will set a wrong precedent as the matter is diametrically different.
The Supreme Court of Appeal on March 6, this year ordered MEC to conduct a re-run of the disputed parliamentary elections after MCP candidate Ulemu Msungama successfully challenged the 2014 elections results, which the MEC declared the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Bantly Namasasu as the winner.