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Parliament works on 2024 poll disparities

Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs has said it is working on fixing time disparities that would be there on presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in 2024.

This comes amid debate that if the country votes into power another president following the Constitutional Court order for fresh elections, the tenure of office of the president elect would end around 2025 while those of members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors would end in 2024.

Chairperson of the committee Kezzie Msukwa said the committee will be ready to give a stand by next week on the matter.

“That is what we are discussing right now. We should be ready to give a position by next week. Apparently, we are in the middle of the debate as a committee. Particularly, this weekend we shall get into the depth,” he said.

Law expert, Burton Mhango, who is also president of Malawi Law Society, said Section 80 (3) of the Constitution provides that a president shall hold office for five years from the date of oath of office.

“This means that, in the event that we elect a new president, he or she will serve his or her new five-year term. This term will not take into account the time from May 21 2019 to the date of the fresh elections,” he said.

This implies that the tenure of office for MPs and councillors will elapse faster than that of the president.

Burton has since implored Parliament to soberly look into the disparities.

The Constitutional Court made recommendations that Parliament should consider aligning the times of the local government, parliamentary and presidential elections in 2024.

On February 3 2020, the Constitutional Court in Lilongwe nullified the election of President Peter Mutharika in May 21 2019 elections, citing massive irregularities during the process.

The court ordered a fresh election in 150 days from the day of the verdict.

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