A decision by the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to schedule an election rerun for June 23 has been called into question by Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale, who argued that a sitting of parliament is required to enact an election date.
In a letter addressed to the committee’s chairperson, Kezzie Msukwa, Kaphale cited Section 80 (1) of the Malawian constitution, which states, “The President shall be elected in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution in such manner as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament and, save where this Constitution provides otherwise, the ballot in a Presidential election shall take place concurrently with the general election for members of the National Assembly as prescribed by section 67 (1).”
Kaphale also expressed doubt that the MEC could hold a fair election by June 23, pointing to a lack of polling materials as a result of lockdown measures, and the fact that several commissioners’ terms are due to expire on June 5.
Revelations of election rigging, like the use of correction fluid on ballot papers, sparked mass protests
The rerun was originally scheduled for July 2, after the country’s supreme court had nullified the May 2019 election results that granted incumbent president Peter Mutharika a second term, citing widespread irregularities. Revelations of election rigging, like the use of correction fluid on ballot papers, sparked mass protests in the capital Lilongwe and elsewhere. Protesters demanded new elections and the resignation of MEC chairperson Jane Ansah, who did so last week.