Friday, February 3, 2023
HomeLaw and orderNo need to jump off the boat in a panic: Malawi's Presidential...

No need to jump off the boat in a panic: Malawi’s Presidential electoral law 50+1, remains intact

Chilima remains the change changer for the forthcoming fresh elections

By Seen Tsanzo Kampondeni

There is some confusion about what happened at Parliament today, so allow me to explain, if I may.

First, Parliament was NOT voting on whether the winner of the fresh presidential election should secure 50% Plus 1 of the votes. That issue was already settled by the Constitutional Court, which ruled that Section 80(2) of the Constitution already requires the winner of a presidential election to secure 50% Plus 1 of the votes.

So, the percentage of votes to win the presidency during the fresh elections is still 50% Plus 1, because the Constitution already requires this.

What the Constitutional Court ordered Parliament to settle were three things:

1. Make a law that says what happens when no presidential candidate wins 50% Plus 1 on the first vote, to ensure that the law says how the required 50% Plus 1 would be achieved if noone got it on the first vote. Today Parliament voted on a bill to address this, adding a provision in the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act to say that there would be a run off between the top two candidates if noone won a majority the first time. That bill has passed!

2. Make a law that prescribes a better way to hire and fire MEC Commissioners. Today, Parliament voted on a bill to amend the Electoral Commission Act so that MEC Commissioners should no longer be appointed and fired by the President, but by Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee.

This bill also provides that the fresh election should be run by the Clerk of Parliament in an acting capacity rather than the discredited Chief Elections Officer. That bill has also passed.

3. Make a law that allows the extension of the current parliamentary term to six years so that after a fresh presidential election is held in May 2020, there will still be alignment between the presidential, parliamentary, and council elections in May 2025.

Today, Parliament voted on a bill to amend Section 80 of the Constitution to make this happen, which requires a two thirds majority of 128 votes. The bill was defeated.

One complication from the defeated bill is that the proposed amendment to Section 80 of the Constitution also included a clause requiring that a run off be held within 30 days after the first round fails to produce a majority winner.

It is strange that this bill included this provision, considering that another bill providing for a run off had already passed.

It has created the awkward scenario in which a run off provision was passed in one bill and defeated in another bill. In fact, when you read the Constitutional amendment bill, you cannot help but note that it was a rather convoluted amendment in general, conflating universal matters with circumstantial ones.

The real kicker and headache is that there are parts of the two bills that passed that are dependent on the provisions of the bill that was defeated, so there is a question about whether the defeated bill renders the passed bills null and void.

So on balance, the bill may have been defeated not so much because of the provision on alignment of elections, but because of other provisions that seem to me to be more suited for a place in an Act of Parliament than the Constitution of a country.

It may also have been defeated in the hopes that doing so defeats the passed bills. If you find this part confusing, it’s because it is.

In conclusion, three bills went to Parliament on Thursday, February 21, 2020, and two of them were passed, one was defeated.

We now have the task of figuring out the implications of the defeated bill on the bills that passed and on the fresh elections, which must still happen within the next 133 days as ordered and must still be won by 50% Plus 1, failing which must be settled by a run off….may be.


The Maravi Post has over one billion views since its inception in December of 2009. Viewed in over 100 countries Follow US: Twitter @maravipost Facebook Page : maravipost Instagram: maravipost    
Maravi Post Author
Maravi Post Author
Today's Opinion · Op-Ed Columnists · Editorials · Op-Ed Contributors to the Maravi Post· The Maravi Post accepts opinion essays on any topic. Published pieces typically run from 400 to 1,200 words, but drafts of any length within the bounds of reason will be considered.


  1. The defeated bill will definitely come back particularly because of the extra year benefit to the MPs

Comments are closed.

Most Popular

Recent Comments

The History of online Casinos – Agora Poker – hao029 on The History of online Casinos
Five factors that will determine #NigeriaDecides2023 - NEWSCABAL on Leadership Is Difficult Because Governance Is Very Stubborn, By Owei Lakemfa
Asal Usul Texas Holdem Poker – Agora Poker – hao029 on The Origins of Texas Holdem Poker
Malawi has asked Mike Tyson to be its cannabis ambassador - Techio on Malawi lawmaker Chomanika against Mike Tyson’s appointment as Cannabis Brand Ambassador over sex offence
Finley Mbella on Brand Chakwera leaks Part 1
Maria Eduarda Bernardo on The 2021 Guide to Trading Forex Online
Atsogo Kemso, Political Foot Soldier on Why MCP and UTM Alliance Will Fail
Em. Prof. Willem Van Cotthem - Ghent University, Belgium on Malawi army, National bank cover Chilumba barrack with trees
Christopher Murdock on Why dating older woman is dangerous?
Samantha The Hammer on Why dating older woman is dangerous?
Muhindo Isevahani on The Cold War Against TB Joshua
JCON/SCOAN/BKN(888/8885/8808) on The Cold War Against TB Joshua
Keen Observer on Jesse Kabwila, Then and Now
Francesco Sinibaldi on Advertising in 2020 and beyond