Tag Archives: elections

EU congratulates Malawi President

“European Union congratulates Dr Lazarus Chakwera on his swearing in as President of Malawi. His election followed a challenging period for the country, during which the respect for the constitution prevailed. Malawians participated actively in the elections, demonstrating their support for democratic institutions” reads issued by the European diplomacy statement.

“All political actors should now show leadership and pursue any disputes by legal and peaceful means in line with the traditions and practice of Malawi.

“We look forward to working with the new government of Malawi on an ambitious agenda of political dialogue and cooperation.

Malawi opposition wins presidency

On Juin 27 Lazarus Chakwera, Malawi opposition leader, was declared the winner of a re-run presidential election, replacing incumbent Peter Mutharika’s discredited win 13 months earlier. For the majority of independent analysts the victory has been assessed as a triumph for democracy in Africa.

Chakwera, 65, secured the required majority, with 58.57% of the vote on Juin 23, the electoral commission said, winning over Mutharika. Chakwera won election to a five-year term as President of the nation of 18 million people.

“My victory is a win for democracy and justice. My heart is bubbling with joy,” Chakwera said after his win, which sparked wild late night celebrations on the streets of the capital Lilongwe, his stronghold.

A rerun of the 2019 election was ordered after the Constitutional Court found the ballot had been marred by widespread irregularities.
That election saw President Mutharika narrowly re-elected by fewer than 159,000 votes.
Mr Chakwera, who came second in that election, argued that tallying forms had been added up incorrectly and tampered with.

The opposition leader, a former cleric, heads up the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

Born in Lilongwe to a subsistence farmer, the philosophy and theology graduate has pledged to raise the national minimum wage, among other reforms.

EU diplomacy on Malawi elections

Tomorrow, on 23 June 2020, the Malawian people will vote in fresh presidential elections after a protracted but constitutionally determined process. Malawi has a distinguished history of promoting and consolidating inclusive democracy, including by ensuring full respect of the constitutional mandates of national institutions, the statement of the European External Actions Service (EEAS) spokesperson reads.

The European Union joins the African Union in calling upon the Malawi Electoral Commission, all political parties, candidates and their supporters to create conditions for a credible, inclusive, transparent and peaceful election and to refrain from any act of violence.

The European Union will work with all actors in Malawi and with its partners, in particular the United Nations and the African Union, in accompanying this democratic process.

Burundi: ruling party celebrates victory

Burundi’s ruling party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye has won the presidential election with 68.72% of votes cast, the electoral commission said on May 25, after multiple accusations of rigging by the leading opposition challenger.

The commission said opposition candidate Agathon Rwasa got 24.19% of votes. There was a turnout of 87.71%.

The vote to replace President Pierre Nkurunziza was preceded by a wave of political violence including the arrest, torture and murder of opposition activists, according to a local rights group.

There was also controversy over holding the election during the global coronavirus crisis.

Hundreds of Burundians were killed and hundreds of thousands fled into exile after unrest surrounding the last election in 2015, when the opposition accused Nkurunziza of violating a peace deal by standing for a third term.

Rwasa has previously said he would take his complaints to the constitutional court, though it is overwhelmed with the president’s allies. He was not immediately available for comment on the elections results announcement.

Five other candidates also stood in the polls, in which 5.11 million registered voters were eligible to participate.

Burundi: EU calls for peaceful elections

Tomorrow, millions of voters will go to the polls in Burundi, at the end of an electoral campaign marked by great citizen involvement, despite several incidents. On the eve of this important meeting, the European Union calls on all political actors to honor the commitments made in the electoral code of conduct signed in December 2019 and thus contribute to the holding of free, transparent, credible and peaceful elections”, says the statement of the European diplomatcy spokesperson (EEAS).

“The European Union fully associates itself with the Joint Commission Communiqué of the African Union and the United Nations Secretariat, calling on “all political actors to refrain from any act of violence, hate speech and to favor dialogue”. “The Burundian population, whom the European Union has continuously supported, must have their aspirations recognized and it is therefore essential that the electoral process goes smoothly and without violence”.

ORIGINAL VIDEO:

https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu:443/en/video/I-191419?&lg=OR

Malawi faces new elections

In a unanimous decision Supreme Court upheld a previous court ruling that annulled President Peter Mutharika’s narrow election victory last year, the Malawi justice announced on Friday 8 May.

In its judgment on May 8, the Supreme Court said: “The various breaches undermined the duties of the Malawi Electoral Commission and grossly undermined rights of voters. None of the candidates obtained a majority.”

It added that the electoral commission should not have appealed, as doing so showed it was taking sides. Mutharika and the electoral commission later appealed the Constitutional Court decision.

Malawi is dependent on foreign aid and is frequently beset by drought which threatens the lives of thousands of people.

Former law professor Mutharika, president since 2014, oversaw infrastructure improvements and a slowdown in inflation in his first five-year term, but critics accuse him of failing to tackle endemic corruption.

The Constitutional Court in February cited “widespread, systematic and grave” irregularities when it annulled the vote that returned Mutharika to power last May.

A new election will now be held on July 2.

EU committed to stablity of Ethiopia

“The EU is a committed and reliable partner of Ethiopia, and we attach great importance to the stability and unity of the country, which is crucial for the whole of Horn of Africa the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson said, commenting on the recent political events in the country in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 7 the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali made an announcement that the ruling party will stay in charge until next elections, while the election calendar was postponed due to sanitary conditions, and Tigray region refused to follow.

Africa’s second most populous (115M) country was due to hold national elections in August 29, and the incumbent Prime minister Abiy Ahmed Ali hoped would give him a mandate for wide-ranging political and economic reforms people are awaiting for long.

However the election board announced in late March that it would be impossible to organise the polls on time because of the pandemic.

The EU have been following closely the recent political developments in the country, and has “taken note” of the swift decision of the House of People’s Representatives to ask the Constitutional explanations of the postponement of the elections, the EEAS spokesperson ensured.

“We encourage and support the inclusive and comprehensive dialogue of all political parties at federal and regional level in order to organise the next elections in a coordinated way” the spokesperson of the EU diplomacy continued. She also underlined that the EU intended to deploy the EU Election observation mission (EUEOM) for the general elections, “in this context we pay special attention to the conditions of the organisation of elections throughout the electoral process”.

The events in Tigray region became a matter of concern after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) announced plans to conduct elextions in Tigray region despite of the federal government decision of postponemet. In relation to this decision of Tigray region leading political force the EU diplomacy “have taken note of the declaration of the Tigray’s People Liberation Front (TPLF) to hold elections in the region, the EU delegation of the ground in Addis Abeba has regular contacts with TPLF, and is seeking the clarifications on this declaration” the spokesperson underlined.

The EU diplomacy is also fully aware that the decision to hold regional elections separately from the general election has been debated in the country by legal and constiutuional experts, and the “European Union is encouraging and supporting the inclusive and comprehensive dialogue of political parties of both level – national and regional” the spokesperson underlined.

Citing the CVOID-19 pandemic as the reason for the calendar change, last month on March 31 the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) postponed indefinitely the legislative elections scheduled for August 29. The supporters of the decision, mostly from the incumbent government, have expressed consent, while the opposition condemned the decision defining it as a “power-grab“. They also indicated that the later date would not take into account poor rain season weather conditions and agricultural activities, complicating electoral campaign.

Tigray region elections controversy

Ethiopia’s Tigray region plans to hold elections, its leading party announced, setting it on a collision course with the federal government in Addis Ababa and imposing strain on the country’s fragile unity.

On May 4 the Executive Committee of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has passed a decision to hold the upcoming elections at the regional level after the decision of the election board to postpone the elections “indefinitely” the context of the pandemic.

The end of March Ethiopian electoral board postponed parliamentary and regional elections scheduled for August 29 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. A new date has yet to be set but the opposition has already questioned the move.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the region’s governing party, split acrimoniously from the national Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition last year when its three other parties merged to form the new Prosperity Party.

The TPLF said it would proceed with elections in Tigray region despite the nationwide postponement of voting due to COVID-19.

We are making preparations including the holding of a regional election in order to safeguard the rights of our people from chaos,” a TPLF statement said. It did not mention a date for the vote.

Addis Alem Balema, an expert and a prominent Tigray politician has criticised Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government in connection with the change of the election schedule.

Government was working half-heartedly on the next election. Now the Coronavirus complicated it,” the expert said.  Moreover, he criticized Prime minister’s administration pointing that the rule of law in the country is “messy“.

Concerning the strategy to address the situation, Alem Balema added the measures to be taken need to ensure the “rights of nations and nationalities, and foster the federal system.” 

Consultation has to continue and the upcoming election has to be free, fair, and credible” he added.

EU will not send observers to Malawi

The European diplomacy reiterated its call for restraint to political actors in Malawi.
“It is especially important at this time that all political actors should stand united in the defence of human rights and Rule of Law, and against any acts of violence, incitement or hate speech” the EU spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs said, quoting a statement of the EU Mission in Malawi.

On May 6, being “shocked” and “saddened” by acts of violence the EU Mission in Malawi together with Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States reacted upon the lamentable episodes, fuelled by political motives, hoping that those responsable would be brought to justice, following the transparent investigations in the frame of the Malawi law.

However the EU has no plans to send the observers for the possible presidential elections postponed to July 2. In general the European External Action Service (EEAS) has to re-asses the deployment of the Observation missions, but “in this case Malawi is not a part of the EU observation mission priority for 2020, the EU will not send the Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) for the re-run of the Presidential elections in Malawi” the spokesperson said commenting on the issue. She reminded that at present the issue of re-running of the presidential elections on the July 2 is examined by the Supreme court in the capital city Lilongwe, and the decision of the judges will “determine if the Presidential election will be or not repeated in July“, she added.

The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) had declared President Peter Mutharika the narrow winner of the May election with 38% of votes, followed by Lazarus Chakwera with 35% and former Vice President Saulos Chilima third with 20%, while four other candidates collectively received of 6% of ballots.

Since the announcement of the election results almost a year ago, Malawi has experienced a wave of protests across the country demanding the resignation of Jane Ansah, the chairwoman of the MEC for allegedly mismanaging the elections. The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) defended its managment of the process, being within the legal framework.

EU calls Malawi for unity

Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, The European Union, Norway, German, Ireland and the United States of America in Malawi released a joint statement on May 6.

They expressed concern over the violence which they said was fueled by political motives and led to injuries.

The development partners called on political actors in Malawi to stand united in the defence of human rights and rule of rule, and against acts of violence, incitement of violence or hate speech.

We support those calling for restraint and hope that all cases of violence are investigated comprehensively and transparently in line with the laws of Malawi, so that those responsible can be brought to justice,” reads part of the statement.

Recently, there have been acts of violence against UTM members in the Southern Regions. On Monday night (May 4), a UTM office in Lilongwe was also torched by unknown assailants and eight people sustained burns.

The violence is happening as parties are campaigning ahead of the 2020 fresh presidential elections.

Supporters of Malawi’s opposition took to the streets of Blantyre on May 6 as their presidential candidate presented nomination papers for the July re-run of last year’s election. The outcome initially returned President Peter Mutharika to office, but the result was historically overturned in a landmark court ruling in February.

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