Parliament passes the amendment bills amidst the resistance from the government benches
By Kondanani Chilimnthaka
The so contested electoral reform bills have finally seen the light of the day after hitting the dark wall last week on Thursday and Friday respectively.
The Malawi Parliament under the act of Parliament has today Monday, February 24 amended the act of Parliament on the elections procedure.
This follows the order by the high court on February 3 in Lilongwe where it ruled over the desputed 2019 presidential election results sitting as a constitutional court under the 5 judges that the 50%+1 rule which is in the constitution but fully brought to its effectiveness and that the house of the law puts all the necessary laws to support the 50%+1 within 21 days from the day the judgement was delivered.
Though the members of parliament on the government benches tried to strongly resist and block the moving of the motions carrying the amendments, the members on the opposition side stood firm with the orders of the court possibly to avoid being in contempt of the court and in denial on the wishes of many Malawians.
The passing of these bills finally mean that:
a. The fresh elections will be held on May 19 this year and possibly every Tuesday of the third week of May after a term of 5 years.
b. In case of presidential candidates not getting the required 50%+1 then within a space of 30 days runoff (re-run) must be conducted with only the first 2 candidates contesting.
c. The president in the forth coming elections shall still holds the office for a period of 5 years as it is untill 2025.
d. The Members of Parliament and Councilors shall hold the office for one more year from initial 5 to 6 years until 2025.
The members have amended the election laws using the act of Parliament that needs simple majority as compared to the constitutional amendment that requires two-thirds majority to be passed which failed last week.