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Mec coy on new election date

Sangwani Mwafulirwa

Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) is not coming out on the steps it is taking to hold the fresh presidential election on May 19 2020.

Parliament has amended the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act, subject to presidential assent, for the election to be held on May 19.

But Mec spokesperson, Sangwani Mwafulirwa, said they will give their position on the possibility of the commission holding the election in due course.

“Mec will make an announcement where all the issues will be addressed,” he said.

In its notice of appeal to the Supreme Court, Mec said the fresh election could only be conducted in 261 days from February 3 2020 when the Constitutional Court delivered its ruling on the presidential election case.

This means that at the earliest, Mec was comfortable holding the election on October 28 2020.

But on top of deciding the election day, the august House also provided that a run-off election be held in 30 days if no candidate gets 50 percent-plus-one of the votes.

Chancellor College political scientist, Happy Kayuni, said it was important that Mec should follow the laws as made by the courts and Parliament.

He said Mec needs to start preparing for the election as soon as possible and share updates to all relevant stakeholders as often as possible.

“The election is not for some private institution. It is for the rest of us and the commission is only managing the process. We don’t want a situation where they are telling us they cannot hold the election late,” he said.

The Constitutional Court nullified the May 21 2019 presidential election results on February 3 2020 calling for fresh polls within 150 days in the process.

The court also directed that winners in the presidential election should be declared using 50 percent-plus electoral system.

However, Mec and President Peter Mutharika have appealed to the Supreme Court.

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