The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has reneged on an agreement to allow political parties to replace—after the end of nomination period—candidates that the poll body may reject.
In a statement issued on Friday, the commission’s chairperson Maxon Mbendera said the concession to allow substitution was made to avoid wastage of time resulting from appeal processes to the High Court.
However, said Mbendera, after studying the proposal and given due consideration to the applicable legal framework, the commission realised that the proposal was illegal and unworkable.
On January 31, the commission had—at a National Election Consultative Forum (Necof) — agreed to allow political parties to substitute sponsored candidates that would be rejected by the commission.
“The commission has concluded that the proposed scheme for substitution after closure of nomination is not allowed under the law and is unworkable. Accordingly, all political parties and candidates are informed that the proposed scheme has and is hereby annulled,” reads the statement.
MEC said the rationale for this reversal was discussed with secretaries general of parties under the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) on February 6 2014.
At the meeting, MEC explained, it considered and agreed, among other issues, that the substitution arrangement is unworkable due to its negative potential to make the nomination processes uncertain and open ended.
“Therefore, there will be no substitution of candidates after the nomination period has closed,” reads the statement in part.
MEC is expected to validate all presidential, parliamentary and local council candidates.