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European Union commits K3 billion to 2025 elections

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Sangwani Mwafulirwa

The European Union (EU) has committed 3 million Euros (about K3 billion) towards the 2025 Malawi tripartite elections and emphasised the need for the country to work on 24 recommendations that the union provided in 2019.

EU Ambassador to Malawi Rune Skinnebach disclosed this in Lilongwe Thursday at a press briefing which EU Election Follow- Up Mission (EU-EFM) members organised. The members have been in the country since September 20 2022.

The EU is making the financial contribution through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) basket fund, part of which would help in Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) operations.

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“One particular aspect which we want to focus on is gender balance. We want to bring on board more women in the electoral process,” he said.

Skinnebach said Malawi is at an important stage in the electoral process, advising stakeholders to take the opportunity to improve electoral processes to ensure inclusive, transparent and credible polls.

The EU deployed EU-EFM members to Malawi to assess electoral reform processes and establish the extent to which previous EU recommendations have been addressed.

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EU Chief of Missions Miroslav Poche said one important conclusion that came out of a roundtable discussion with stakeholders on Wednesday was the need to, through Parliament, keep up the momentum on progress of draft electoral bills.

“The bills came about as a result of an inclusive and consultative process and there is a broad consensus that the sooner the reforms are approved and in place the better. Experience shows that the closer we get to the election day, the more contentious the reforms become,” Poche said.

In the 2019 EU Election Observation Mission’s final report, there were 24 recommendations to improve transparency, inclusiveness and integrity of elections in Malawi.

The recommendations included the operationalisation of the Access to Information Act and that everyone who is aged 18 on voting day may vote, an idea Malawi has embraced.

Mec Director of Communications Sangwani Mwafulirwa said they were aware of the development.

“We are aware that the EU is supporting the 2025 elections through the basket fund, which is managed by UNDP. Mec will be one of the beneficiaries; so, not the whole amount will go to Mec,” Mwafulirwa said.

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