Date:19 May 2014
Malawi Elections 2014 Fact Sheet
Malawi became independent from British colonial rule in 1964; the country was a multiparty state both before independence and soon after the collapse of colonial rule. Malawi in 1966 under Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda had become a one-party state and remained so until 1993 when it returned to multipartyism in 1993, following a national referendum in which Malawians voted overwhelmingly for a return to a multiparty system of government.
Malawi practices the first-past-the-post system and the president is directly elected concurrently with Parliament by a plurality. The country’s 1994 Constitution established a presidential form of government based on the principle of the separation of powers. The term of office of the president is five years and a president may seek re-election for a second five-year term.
The National Assembly of Malawi has 193 seats (increased from 177 in 1994), elected by direct universal adult suffrage for a term of five years. Cabinet ministers who are not elected MPs also sit in the National Assembly. The system provides for independent candidates. The current President is Joyce Banda (since 7 April 2012) took office following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika, who was elected in 2009 making her Africa’s second sitting female President
The May 20 election will is expected to be a close contest between Banda, Peter Mutharika (the former President’s brother) and two other leading presidential candidates. Along with the presidential race, Malawians will also vote for members of the National Assembly and local government councilors. These elections constitute the fifth nationwide poll since the country’s transition to multiparty democracy in 1994.
Below are some facts and figures about the May 2014 elections:
1. Malawians will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, to participate in presidential, parliamentary and local government elections. Polling will start at 6:00 a.m. and conclude at 6:00 p.m. on the same day.
2. 7,537,548 registered voters for the 2014 tripartite elections. Out of this total,3,481,365 (46.19 percent) are male and 4,056,183 (53.81 ercent) are female
3. There will be 4,449 polling centers throughout the country.
4. These polling centers may have one or more polling streams (i.e. polling lines) that accommodate approximately 800 people each.
5. The May 20 election will mark the first time Malawi has ever held tripartite elections(President, parliamentarians and local councilors).
6. 17 political parties have fielded candidates for the 193-seat parliament.
7. The top four political parties are: – the People’s Party (PP), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
8. The four leading candidates are Joyce Banda (PP), Peter Mutharika (DPP), Lazurus Chakwera (MCP) and Atupele Muluzi (DPF).
9. out of the 11 candidates running for President, two are female (Joyce Banda of the People’s Party and Abusa Hellen Singh of United Independent Party, who also has a female running mate).
10. May 20 election marks the first time since 2000 that local government representatives are being elected.
11. Local council seats fell vacant in 2005 after their elections were cancelled due to financial limitations, and were further postponed by then President Bingu wa Mutharika.
12. According to Chapter VII (Section 77) of the Constitution of Malawi, Malawian citizens who are 18 years and above are entitled to vote.
13. Non-nationals are also entitled to vote if they have lived in Malawi for 7 years or more.
14. No runoff is required for either the presidential or parliamentary elections.
15. The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) is the country’s election authority. They are on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MalawiElectoralCommission; and have a vibrant website http://www.mec.org.mw/
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