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Parliament to follow Concourt ruling

Speaker of Parliament, Catherine Gotani-Hara, has said the august House will follow the Constitutional Court ruling regarding making laws for fresh presidential election, despite President Peter Mutharika announcing that he would appeal against the judgement.

Addressing members of the press in Lilongwe Thursday, Gotani-Hara said if the courts at any point make any other directive on the matter, the House will follow such a direction.

“We will be doing what the courts have said. If there is any new development from the courts, then we will go by what the courts say. We are actually following what the court has said. Everybody has the right to appeal so we cannot stop anyone from doing that,” she said.

Gotani-Hara said Parliament will deliberate within the given 21 days from the date of the ruling issues regarding bills on fresh election.

The court tasked Parliament with coming up with legislation to guide a run-off in the event of a tie in the presidential race, scrutinise the competence of Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners to handle the fresh election.

On the issue regarding dissolving the current Mec commissioners, the Speaker said the Public Appointments Committee (Pac) will meet from today and discuss the matter.

She said Pac will then make recommendations to Parliament regarding the issue.

Addressing the nation on Wednesday, Mutharika said he had serious reservations with the judgement delivered by the Constitutional Court and has advised his legal team to appeal the matter at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“We consider the judgement as a serious subversion of justice, an attack on our democratic system and an attempt to undermine the will of people,” Mutharika said.

Among other issues, the Constitutional Court ordered that Parliament should move with pace in ensuring that it puts in place laws that would ensure that the winner of the presidential vote gets 50 percent + 1 of the total votes cast.

The court also directed the House to make laws regarding the fresh election scheduled to take place within 150 days from February 3 2020.

The court’s decision following petitions from Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera and his UTM counterpart Saulos Chilima who finished on second and third places in the disputed May 21 2019 presidential race after chalking 35 percent and 20 percent respectively against 38 percent for Mutharika.

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