The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) says it has registered 12 428 new voters for the October 17 by-elections.
MEC acting chief elections officer Harris Potani said in a statement the registration and voter verification exercise went on successfully from August 24 to 28 2017.
He said in terms of gender, 6 032 of those registered are men while 6 396 are women.
MEC is expected to hold by-elections in three parliamentary constituencies, namely Lilongwe Msozi North, Lilongwe City South East and Nsanje Lalanje. There will also be local government by-elections in Mayani North Ward in Dedza North Constituency, Mtsiliza Ward in Lilongwe City West Constituency and Ndirande Makata Ward in Blantyre Malabada Constituency.
The commission has attributed the good turnout of first-time registrants to a good civic education and mass mobilisation strategy whereby it held meetings in the communities, sent teams with loudhailers and also distributed letters to all churches and traditional leaders.
“We appreciate other stakeholders that worked with us in reaching out to the people urging them to go and register or verify their registration details,” reads the statement in part.
In the statement, MEC further reminded all political parties and aspirants that nomination papers are available for collection from the constituency/ward returning offices and council headquarters.
Reads the statement in part: “The Commission will receive the nomination papers on September 8 2017, but aspirants are encouraged to take their filled nomination papers for pre-inspection on September 7 2017 at their Constituency/Ward Returning Office.”
In July, MEC announced that it will hold by-elections in the three constituencies and three wards on October 17 after it had failed to conduct the elections on June 6 this year, citing financial hiccups.
According to MEC chairperson Jane Ansah, in this election, the Commission will implement a new vote tallying proposal as proposed in the electoral reforms.
The new elections results management system requires writing both in figures and in words to check against manipulation.
By-lections in Lilongwe City South East follow a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal order for a rerun after noting that there were irregularities in the parliamentary race on May 20 2014 whereas in the other five areas the vacancies were created following deaths of office holders. n