Parliament reconvenes for budget on Thursday
Parliament is expected to reconvene in Lilongwe on Thursday to continue deliberating the national budget, Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara has said.
Initially, Parliament, which went into cluster meetings last week to scrutinise the financial plan which was presented by Minister of Finance, Joseph Mwanamvekha on June 12, was expected to reconvene today.
But in a statement, Gotani Hara says the changes have come about to allow the lawmakers to vote in the fresh presidential election.
“This decision has been taken in order to give members ample time to exercise their right to vote in the fresh presidential election scheduled for Tuesday, 23 June 2020,” Hara said.
This will be the first time Malawians are voting while Parliament is in session.
Traditionally, Malawians vote in a tripartite election where they elect president, lawmakers and ward councillors. This year Malawians are voting in a presidential election only after the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal nullified the May 21, 2019 poll on the basis of systematic, widespread and grave irregularities.
Unlike last year’s election, tomorrow’s presidential poll has only three candidates namely Lazarus Chakwera of the Tonse Alliance, Peter Kuwani of the Mbakuwaku Movement for Development and Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party and United Democratic Front Alliance.
According to the court judgment, the winner of the election must get 50%+1 of the total valid vote cast in order for them to form the next government.
Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee Chairperson, Sosten Gwengwe, last week suggested that it would be proper for Parliament to give lawmakers enough time to travel to their respective constituencies and vote.
The outcome of the fresh presidential election could have a serious implication on the seating plan in Parliament, depending on who wins.