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Parliament to re-table rejected bills in May

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Parliament has disclosed it will reintroduce the rejected Electoral Reforms Bills for a second consideration at its next meeting in May after they were officially rejected by President Peter Mutharika on March 14 2020.

According to a statement issued yesterday, signed by Assistant Clerk of Parliament Leonard Mengezi, the National Assembly is aware of the procedure to be followed when the President has withheld assent and is committed to following the procedure in the current situation.

“The National Assembly has a leeway of up to three months from the 14th March, 2020 within which to re-introduce the Bills in the House for consideration and if passed, to re-submit the same to the President for assent. This is stipulated in Section 73 (3) of the Constitution.

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“In this regard, the National Assembly in May, at its next Meeting, will retable the Bills for consideration. Should that happen, the National Assembly will once more update the Constitutional Court,” reads the statement in part.

Meanwhile, Parliament has backed Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara’s move to write the Constitutional Court, through the Registrar of the High Court, on President Peter Mutharika’s refusal to sign the bills and fire Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners.

Mengezi said the nation should know that the Office of the Speaker has previously updated the court through a letter dated 25th February 25 2020 soon after the Mid-term Budget Review Meeting which also tackled the orders from the court.

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Parliament said it has observed that there have been some misunderstandings of the content of the statement.

He said: “The National Assembly is very much aware of the fact that it is not party to the said court proceedings and therefore writing to the Constitutional Court was not to move the court but rather to update the court on the progress the National Assembly was making regarding the orders of the court.”

Thursday, Office of the Speaker issued a statement to update the public on progress the National Assembly has made regarding the February 3 2020 Constitutional Court Judgment of the Constitutional Reference Case No: 1 of 2019.

The Constitutional Court on February 3 nullified May 21 2019 presidential election and ordered fresh election 150 days from the day of the verdict.

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