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UN, donors keep watchful eye ahead of fresh polls

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FOLLOWING KEENLY—Borsch

The United Nations (UN) has given Malawi conditions for its support towards the country’s democracy.

In an exclusive interview with Malawi News UN Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres, said among others, there should be conducive political and legal frameworks in the country.

“The UN has been following the developments in Malawi including issues related to the ruling by the Supreme Court on the fresh presidential elections which addresses some of the outstanding issues and defines the next steps in the current electoral cycle. UNDP stands ready and committed to supporting the democratic environment in Malawi, in close dialogue and with the support of all stakeholders,” Torres said.

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Torres was responding to questions on the UN’s readiness to help in the forthcoming fresh presidential elections.

She however, highlighted that the UN does not provide funding but technical support.

“Funding comes from development partner or donor countries, meaning any funding is subject to discussions with development partners,” she said.

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According to Torres, the UN in Malawi, in response to a request from Malawi government and in close partnership with development partners, has for years been supporting national institutions, notably the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) and other relevant stakeholders for the different electoral cycles since the transition to multiparty democracy in 1994.

She said this is also the case for the electoral cycle of 2017-2020.

According to the UN envoy, as a standard practice, the UN and UNDP provides technical support upon request by the national institutions and this is only after assessing if conditions are conducive, including the political and legal frameworks, for impartial technical advice.

And one of Malawi’s development partners, Germany, says it is endorsing the UN’s stand on the developments that are taking place in the country.

German Ambassador to Malawi Jurgen Borsch said his government is also following keenly preparations for the fresh presidential election.

“In our view, it is most important to see that all political stakeholders in Malawi reach a broad constructive consensus towards a robust framework for the fresh elections,” Borsch said.

On February 3, 2020 the Constitutional Court nullified the 2019 presidential election on the basis that it was marred by widespread systematic irregularities, further saying that the current cohort of Mec Commissioners is incompetent.

About two weeks ago, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the decision.

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