The Malawi Election Commission has just announced that it will hold by-elections in three parliamentary constituencies on December 15, 2020.
This becomes a third set of elections to be organized by the Commission in a Covid-19 environment whose first case was reported on 2nd April, 2020.
The first election in a Covid-19 environment was a Fresh Presidential Election held on 23 June, 2020 after the High Court had nullified the election held on 20 May 2019 due to irregularities.
The second set of by-elections was held on 10 November 2020 and covered two constituencies and one ward. These vacancies arose because of resignation and death.
Releasing the calendar for the by-elections during a press briefing held on 20th November, 2020, MEC Chairman, Justice Dr Chifundo Kachale said the electoral stakeholders not to relax Covid-19 preventive measures.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is still among us. Although the statistics are pointing to reduced incidents, we should not take chances, all measures must be followed as guided by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and the Ministry of Health,” he said.
He further appealed to political parties and candidates to ensure that they observed the Covid-19 regulations and put every measure to protect their followers and supporters.
“Please note that we are not safe from Covid-19 until everyone is safe,” he cautioned.
The Commission also announced that there will be no registration of new voters as the High Court ruled that only those that registered for the Tripartite Elections in 2019 should be the ones eligible to vote.
The Commission will also maintain the candidates who contested in 2019 parliamentary elections together with statuses and party affiliations as ordered by the courts.
“New candidates are not eligible to contest. In cases where a candidate has withdrawn his or her nomination, the withdrawal will be dealt with in accordance with the law and there will be no substitution of the candidates,” he said.
The official campaign period started on the 10th of September 2020 and is still running and as per requirement of the law, campaign shall end at 06.00AM on 13th December, 2020.
“Any campaign activity conducted after this period is illegal and the Commission will not hesitate to take necessary measures against those who indulge in such violations,” warned the MEC chairman.
During these by-elections a total of 87,361 registered voters are expected to go and cast their votes.