Thursday, May 22, 2014

MESN Calls for Calm, Urges Parties to be Responsible

Press Release
22 May 2014 – Blantyre

The Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN) continues to observe the process with trained accredited observers at 29 of the 36 district collation centres. Reports form MESN Observers at district collation centres show that the process is preceding very slowly and there are serious problems with the functioning of the computer software.

Thus far there have been no reported incidents of results being manipulated at district
collation centres.

MESN has released a comprehensive statement on the setup and opening, voting and counting processes.

This statement was based on reports from MESN’s Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) Observers who are deployed to a representative random sample of 800 polling stations located across all three regions, all 28 districts and all 193 constituencies.

While opening was delayed at many polling stations, once polling stations opened the process was generally uniform and consistent with the procedures by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).

The voting procedures have multiple checks to ensure the integrity of the process. Of particular note:

.At 96% of polling stations there was a voter’s register;

.At 95% of polling stations all voters’ fingers were marked with indelible ink; and

.At 96% of polling stations no one attempted to disrupt the voting process.

Of particular importance, political parties had their representatives at the vast majority of polling stations and where the party agents were present, they almost universally signed the official results form for the presidential elections, indicating they agreed the official results were an accurate reflection of the ballots cast.

While the MEC is experiencing challenges with the tabulation of results, the process is being closely observed and MESN’s PVT will be able to verify the accuracy of the official results as announced by the MEC.

MESN calls on the nation to remain calm and for all political parties and candidates to behave responsibility.

While there have been problems, these have not yet fundamentally undermined the credibility of the process.

MESN urges the MEC to communicate regularly and frequently to help keep the Malawian people informed about the tallying process. MESN appeals to the MEC to consider releasing results as they are verified to enhance transparency and build confidence.

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