Sunday, May 25, 2014

Malawi Electoral Commission's Saturday Evening Briefing Statement

Greetings my fellow Malawians,
I should start by thanking you for your patience and for being there for this briefing. Tonight the Commission wishes to give updates on a number of issues that have happened in the country concerning elections. I should emphasise that in this election every vote will count and we will ensure that only the valid vote gets counted.

Meeting with parties and re-opening of ballot boxes
The Commission had a meeting today with leaders of political parties regarding irregularities that have been noted during the vote counting. The Parties included the United Democratic Front, Peoples Party, Democratic Progressive Party and the Malawi Congress Party. The other political parties were represented by the Centre for Multiparty Democracy.

During the meeting, the Commission reported that in the course of vote tallying, there are cases being discovered where the total number of votes cast is more than the total registered voters for the centre. It has been agreed with the political parties that this can be resolved by opening the ballot boxes and doing a physical audit.

The Commission has agreed with the parties that an implementation plan for the recount of the ballot papers in early next week. The Commission and parties will meet again to finalise the logistics tomorrow at 2 pm.

MEC Commissioners and managers will oversee the process from the side of MEC. Political parties have also committed to ensure that there will be quality monitors and high level representation during the exercise.

Stay order on stopping elections
Today there was a public announcement by the State President that the Commission should stop vote counting and that there should be a fresh election in 90 days.

The Commission’s lawyers went to court later in the day and they have been granted a stay order. This means that the Commission will continue with its operations as normal until the High Court hears the matter.

Vote tallying
Although the Commission will be opening the ballot boxes for a recount, it will not abandon the current vote counting exercise. This will be pursued to the end but the results will not be announced until the vote recount outcome is known and compared with.

Receiving of results sheets from councils
The Commission has received results sheets from most of the councils in the country and data capture is ongoing. As of 9PM today we had captured 2,759 centres representing 62 percent.

With these few remarks, I wish you all the best

Justice Maxon Mbendera, SC


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