Fresh polls July 2

Ansah at laucn of calender in Blantyre March 23 picture by Pemphero Musowa

* Date could change due to coronavirus travel restrictions

Malawians will go to fresh presidential polls on July 2, the 149th out of the 150 days prescribed by the Constitutional court in its 3rd February, 2020 ruling that nullified the presidential election results. 

The determination of results will expected between 3-10 July the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said in its electoral calendar pointing out the amount to be spent is K34 billion but could swell due to the coronavirus hampering some services.

The commission released a calendar of events on Monday in Blantyre where among others it said the registration of voters will run from 4th April to 7th June 2020 in four phases of 14 days each with three days for transition.

The last date for submission of names of monitors for voter registration is 30 March, 2020.

MEC Commissioners during the media briefing launch of fresh election calendar-Picture by Pemphero Musowa

According to the calendar, presidential candidates shall present their nomination papers from April 23- 24 in Blantyre. 

Nomination papers are available for collection from the MEC head office in Blantyre starting from Monday 23, 2020. 

The official campaign period shall run from 2nd May to 30th June, 2020.

The Commission is identifying a printer for ballot papers and accompanying forms.

For the polling exercise the Commission has given political parties or independent candidates up to 22nd June 2020 to submit names of . 

With the coronavirus affecting the world and Malawi government putting stringent measures such as stopping meetings of 100 people or more, the Commission said it will make provisions for masks, gloves, water and hand sanitisers for use at all polling stations.

Ansah said: “There will be strict observance of distances between individuals as well as gatherings of less than 100 people during meetings,” adding “the coronavirus has affected a lot of activities, and elections are not an exemption. MEC will undertake to ensure the safety of its staff, both at headquarters and in the field, during the implementation of the electoral process.”

Journalists at the launch of election calendar. Picture by Pemphero Musowa

The chairperson has since urged all electoral stakeholders, including political parties, to join the Commission in observing and applying the same measures in all their undertakings as directed by President Arthur Peter Mutharika.  

“Further to the safety of staff and voters, the successful implementation of the election calendar that is being launch today will be subject to mitigation of the impact of the coronavirus including travel embargos and shutdown of election materials production companies.”

Ansah responding to whether travel restrictions and airlines shutting down their planes could have an effect on the date of elections said if that happens MEC cannot be faulted because the coronavirus is a real.

She told reporters that Parliament has not discussed the July 2 date saying they are law makers and as MEC they are abiding to the ruling they were given to avoid contempt of court.