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MCP gives up on voter registration

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By Feston Malekezo:

MUNTHALI— We are very confident

Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has given up on its request to have Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) extend the voter registration exercise.

MCP’s position comes after Mec said it would neither re-open registration centres nor extend the exercise as some electoral stakeholders, including MCP, wished over voter apathy that marred the first phase of the exercise.

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The first phase of registration was in Salima, Kasungu and Dedza which, according to past voting patterns, have been MCP’s strongholds.

MCP publicity secretary, Maurice Munthali, Monday said their petition to Mec and court proceedings were not out of desperation.

“We do not want to be seen to be fighting the Malawi Electoral Commission. We petitioned Mec on behalf of Malawians. This was not necessarily done because MCP is or was desperate. It was done out of a genuine concern that there was low turn-out in some centres. Now that they have made a decision, we do not want to argue with them,” he said.

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Munthali said they are comfortable with figures of the registered voters and that their focus is on lobbying the electorate to usher in the Lazarus Chakwera-led party into power next year.

“We are more than confident that the figures that have been recorded will make Dr Lazarus Chakwera president of the country in 2019,” he said.

Mec decided not to extend the registration exercise on Friday, having noted that there were no significant hindrances as all centres opened and operated within the statutory minimum period of 14 days.

The commission also said there was massive and sufficient public awareness of the voter registration exercise, adding that Mec used biometric voter registration system that was fast and efficient.

The commission registered 6,856,295 voters against a projection of 8,510,625, representing 81 percent.

Of the total number of registered voters, 3,810,020 are women while 3,045,766 are men.

A total of 3,735,894 registrants are youths who are less than 35 years, representing 54 percent of registered voters.

However, the figures are subject to revision as Mec undertakes a cleaning exercise for multiple registrants.

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