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European Union tips stakeholders ahead of 2019 polls

The European Union (EU) has reiterated the need for stakeholders involved in the electoral process to take into account and implement the recommendations made from the previous elections for the upcoming 2019 elections.

EU Ambassador Marchel Gerrmann has said implementation of the recommendations will help to avoid a repeat of challenges encountered in the past elections.

The European Union Observer Mission (EUOM) released its report after the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) conducted the country’s first tripartite elections in 2014.

“Our support to the electoral process will take into consideration the recommendations from the European Observer Missions (EOM) of 2009 and 2014. Let me take this opportunity to call upon all relevant stakeholders to the electoral process to implement the recommendations from previous elect ions to avoid a repeat of some of the challenges that were previously faced,” he said.

In 2014 elections, the EU deployed 85 observers from 28 EU member-states across the country.

The mission made 27 recommendations in its report after the elections. The recommendations fall within such areas as legal framework, election administration, voter registration, voter and civic education, media and elections and domestic election observation.

The report also covers participation of women, vote counting and tallying of results and complaints and appeals.

On legal framework, the EU recommended the inclusion of a clear definition of the term public office into the election legislation, introduction of a legal requirement to disclose political party sources of financing and to report on campaign spending would improve transparency and public accountability of political financing, and introduction of a clear and enforceable ban on the use of state resources for campaigning purposes into the electoral legislation.

On media and elections, the EU recommended that to ensure a transition from state broadcaster to public service broadcaster, the director general and the members of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) board should be appointed by the National Assembly.

The mission also recommended the introduction of legislation which will regulate opinion poll related to elections.

Meanwhile, as part of its support in preparations for the 2019 polls, the EU has supported Malawi with K39 billion in the Chilungamo Programme and part of the money will support the National Identification System, which Gerrmann believes will help Mec in saving time and money on future elections.

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