Catherine Gotani Hara: Madam Speaker for Malawi Parliament

Malawi Parliament has agreed that the country’s fresh presidential poll should be held on May 19 this year following the constitutional court’s Feb. 3 nullification of May 2019 presidential poll.

The constitutional court ordered that fresh presidential election should be held in 150 days and that Parliament should meet in 21 days to make electoral reforms to accommodate the order and adoption of the 50+1 electoral rule.

Following the order, Parliament has also passed the bill to amend the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act (PPEA) to have the next general elections on the third Tuesday of 2025.

President Peter Mutharika of Malawi: election annulled by country’s constitutional court

The House also amended the Electoral Commission Act (ECA) to among others allow all political parties represented in the house to nominate Malawi Electoral Commission commissioners.

Parliament experts have argued that the amendments of the two Acts alone “are in conflict with the Constitution” and that “any bill/law that is in conflict with the Constitution is unconstitutional therefore cannot be applicable”.

They have further observed that as Section 80 of the Constitution says a Presidential election shall take place concurrently with a Parliamentary election, to have a fresh Presidential election “there’s need to amend the Constitution with two-thirds majority so that the country votes for the President on his/her own without a vote for MPs”. Section 67 of the Malawi Constitution stipulates that a general election shall be held 5 years after voting, thus after voting in 2019, the next General election was due in 2024.

President Peter Mutharika is yet to assent to the passed bills of the PPEA and ECA amendments.