The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has proposed an additional 36 hours of campaigning for candidates involved in an election.
This, according to Mec, would be achieved by reducing the period for stopping campaigning in elections to 12 hours before the poll from the current 48 hours.
Mec Commissioner Emmanuel Fabiano said this in Karonga District on Saturday in response to a question from an Alliance for Democracy candidate who suggested the removal of the two- day break between the last campaign day and that for voting.
This was during the launch of by-elections in Lupembe Ward.
Fabiano has, however, stressed that it would be up to Parliament to amend the laws to provide room for the change.
“We, as Malawi Electoral Commission, would like those two days to be used for campaign because, at present, those two days do not give any value,” he said.
The commissioner further explained that the days are somehow already used by some people for campaigning “which also brings about confusion on whether the campaign is over or not”.
He, therefore, said the view of the commission was that political parties should campaign up to the very last evening before voting day.
“That is the view of the Malawi Electoral Commission but it is up to our members of Parliament to take up the matter and see whether they can amend the laws that are there with regard to those two days between the end of the campaigning period and the time of voting,” Fabiano said.
Meanwhile, political analyst George Phiri has told The Daily Times that political parties were likely going to buy Mec’s views because they would love to have more time for campaign.
“Political parties may welcome the Mec idea because they always want to convince voters to vote for them. So, the idea of extending the period to 12 hours before election day would most likely be welcomed by the parties because they want more time to talk to the people,” Phiri said.
Mec will conduct by-elections in three wards on August 23 this year, after councillors died.
The elections would be in Shire Ward in Balaka District, Lupembe Ward in Karonga District and Wenya Ward in Chitipa District.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.