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Battle for Speaker’s position heats up

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

Now that winners of the May 21 Tripartite Elections are known, the battle shifts to Parliament where political parties represented are expected to battle out for the speakership.

The august House will be expected to elect the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Second Deputy Speaker on June 20 using the Standing Orders of Parliament.

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This means nominations must reach Clerk of Parliament’s office before the election time and the polls will be done by secret ballot if there is more than one nomination.

Looking at the numerical strength in the House, the battle will be between Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has 62 legislators and Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) ,with 55 members of Parliament (MPs).

However, with 55 MPs, the independent block could decide the battle.

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MCP and DPP have independent MPs in their strongholds.

This means whichever party manages to persuade and convince the greatest number of independent legislators would carry the day.

However, United Democratic Front (UDF), with its 10 MPs, People’s Party (PP) with its five MPs, UTM (four) and Alliance for Democracy’s sole MP will also play a crucial role.

Meanwhile, a press statement from Clerk of Parliament, Fiona Kalemba, says the swearing-in ceremony of the newly elected MPs will take place from June 17 to 18 2019 at the Parliament chambers in Lilongwe.

The statement says, prior to the swearing-in, there will an orientation workshop for the MPs at Bingu International Convention Centre from Monday June 14.

Human Rights Defenders Coalition Deputy Chairperson, Gift Trapence, has advised the MPs to, when discharging their duties, prioritise the interest of Malawians and not those of political parties.

Trapence said such misplaced priorities by the MPs result in the House rejecting bills which are taken to Parliament by the government.

He said Malawians must reintroduce the recall provision in the country’s Constitution to bring sanity to Parliament.

“We don’t want members of Parliament to sell our democracy. We want them to discuss policy and development issues that can benefit Malawians. We expect this Parliament to push hard on issues of accountability especially corruption,” Trapence said.

Political analyst Ernest Thindwa has said usual partisan interests would characterise parliamentary proceedings.

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