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Mec revises by-elections budget

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Chifundo Kachale

The Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) is revising the K2.6 billion budget it initially set for by-elections, following its decision to hold by-elections in all seven constituencies and two wards at once.

The by-elections would be held on March 30 in constituencies and wards that have no representatives due to court rulings or the death of legislators and ward councillors.

Mec Chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale said Thursday, during a press conference, that the initial calendar— which indicated that elections would be held in phases— was changed on Wednesday.

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“When we had two different calendars, the budget was coming up to K2.6 billion and we are revising that downwards because, after making the decision to combine the calendar, some of the exercises will be combined,” Kachale said.

The constituencies where seats fell vacant due to court rulings are Nsanje Central Constituency, Nsanje North Constituency and Chikwawa East Constituency while Ntchisi North, Lilongwe Nsinja South, Karonga North West, Zomba Changalume constituencies and Riviridzi and Chitakale wards fell vacant due to death.

One of the grounds for seeking to extend the time-frame was for procurement processes to be followed.

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Kachale added that they have decided to combine and not conduct another election in April to comply with provisions of the Constitution, which demands that vacancies should be filled within 60 days.

“We are seeking the engagement of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority to consider granting us authority to single-source those services if we are to implement the calendar of the by-elections before March 30 this year,” he said.

Voter registration and update exercises are expected to take place from February 22 to March 7. The official campaign period started on February 15 and will end on March 28 while results of the elections would be announced on April 1.

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