Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara says the draft Electoral Reforms Bills, including the 50-plus-one provision in choosing the country’s President, have been finalised and will be presented in Parliament today.
Speaking before adjourning the House after yesterday’s business, the Speaker said Parliament is working in compliance with the Constitutional Court order on the electoral reforms.
The five-judge panel of the High Court of Malawi sitting as the Constitutional Court tasked Parliament to facilitate the review of the laws. The House tasked its Legal Affairs Committee and the Public Appointments Committee on some assignments.
Hara said as a matter of urgency and that members of Parliament (MPs) get to know the bill, her office last evening organised an awareness session for the legislators at Bingu International Convention Centre.
She said: “The Legal Affairs Committee has completed its assignment of coming up with the draft bills. The Business Committee met today and resolved that motions under Standing Order 122(8) to introduce Private Member’s Bills in compliance with the court ruling should be introduced on Tuesday, 18th February.”
Hara said the bills will be tabled tomorrow and are expected to be concluded by Thursday this week.
The Constitutional Court tasked Parliament to take appropriate legislative measures to ensure that:
• The significance of the certainty which is brought by the fixing of the date of the general election under Section 67 (1) of the Constitution is preserved; and
• Whoever is elected President of the Republic during the fresh election is allowed to serve the constitutionally prescribed five-year term.
• The Public Appointments Committee of the National Assembly should, in terms of Section 75 (4) of the Constitution, inquire into the capacity and competence of the Electoral Commission’s current commissioners, to oversee the conduct of the fresh elections;
• Parliament should take necessary amendment action in respect of Section 75 (1) of the Constitution so that the appointing authority of the chairperson of the Electoral Commission is clearly provided for; and that; • Parliament must, within 21 days from the date of the ruling, make appropriate provisions for the holding of the presidential run-off in the event that no single candidate secures the constitutional majority under Section 80 (2) of the Constitution as interpreted by the court.