MEC Rolls Out Electoral Calendar Cautious Of Effect Of Coronavirus
The Malawi Electoral Commission today rolled out the electoral calendar for the fresh presidential election as ordered by the constitutional court with a note that the successful implementation of the plan would “be subject to mitigation of the impact of the coronavirus” citing possible ‘travel embargos and shutdown of election materials production companies’.
Chairperson of the commission, Dr. Jane Ansah, said this in Blantyre where she also announced that “The Commission has done its ground work and is ready to hold these elections on 2 July, 2020” the 149th day from the day the court ordered elections to be held within 150 days.
“The coronavirus has affected a lot of activities, and elections are not an exemption. The MEC will undertake to ensure the safety of its staff, both at headquarters and in the field, during the implementation of the electoral process.
“There will be masks, gloves, water and hand sanitizers for use in all places. And there will be strict observance of distances between individuals as well as gatherings of less than 100 people during meetings,” said the MEC chairperson.
As ordered by the constitutional court, results tallying of the elections shall be carried out at District Tally Centre and not at constituency level.
As at now, MEC has yet to identify the printer for ballot papers but has pledged to put in place “strict measures to protect the integrity of the printing process and all logistics” to voter stations.
“Political parties and contesting candidates shall be allowed to send their representatives to witness the printing process at their own cost,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ansah announced, official campaign shall roll out from 2nd May to 30th June whereas candidates’ nominations shall be presented on 23rd and 24th April.
“Every political party and candidate shall have the right to monitor each phase of the electoral process. They shall do so through designated representatives,” she said stressing this is meant to guarantee transparency and credibility of the whole process adding “The Commission shall also extend invitations to both local and international observers”.
Dr. Ansah announced that registration of voters shall run from 4th April to 7th June 2020 and that this exercise will include those that have turned 18 or will attain voting age by 7 June 2020.
She said the Commission shall announce results of the presidential elections any day from 3rd to 10th July.