The first ever Tripartite General Election in Malawi was held on 20th May 2014. MESN in collaboration with its partners organized a two-day national Post Elections Review Conference with the aim of documenting lessons learnt from the elections, challenges experienced during the elections and to identify recommendations to improve the conduct of future elections. This report is based on the proceedings of the conference which was held from 26th – 27th June 2014 at Golden Peacock Hotel, Lilongwe, Malawi…
MEC PRESS STATEMENT
28 May 2014
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Malawi Electoral Commission I am here to report on developments and progress in the Tallying of the election results.
The law requires the Commission to announce its determination of the national election results within 8 days from the last day of polling.
As you will recall, our last day of polling was on Thursday, 22 May. Therefore the Commission has a legal duty to announce the results not later than Friday, 30 May, 2014.
The law allows the Commission to announce the results within 48 hours after collecting all relevant information.
This 48 hours is provided to allow the Commission to attempt to resolve any complaints that have been lodged. As of this afternoon the Commission has registered 287 complaints of which it has processed 188.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I can now report to the Nation that the Commission has received and tallied all of the results for the Presidential election at the National Tally Centre.
As such, the 48 hour countdown has started and the Commission will announce the determination of official results for these elections on Friday, 30 May.
The Commission will utilize the remaining two days to finalize and resolve the complaints it has received for the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections.
If all complaints cannot be resolved within the remaining time, candidates will still be able to take up any concern via a petition to the High Court, within seven days of the announcement of the results, as the law provides for.
The Commission has also continued with the verification of the results. We are working diligently to identify any irregularities. This includes the 58 polling centers where the number of valid votes reported to have been cast have exceeded the number of registered voters.
These issues will be commented on in our report to the Nation on the announcement of the determination of results.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are all aware of the legal controversy that has surrounded the possibility of the Commission conducting a recount.
At this stage we await clarity from the Courts on this issue, as they seek to resolve the injunctions and counter-injunctions being lodged.
On this issue, the Commission has met with many of the stakeholders in the electoral process. In the past few days we have met with the Secretaries-General of the political parties, PAC – the Public Affairs Committee – Civil Society Organizations, and election observer groups.
To all of these groups I must extend my sincere gratitude for their commitment and support to the Commission as we have all wrestled with these issues. Our advice to these stakeholders is that it is not feasible for the Commission to conduct a full recount within the period available to it, and if it were possible, a Court order would be required to extend the period for announcement of results.
Malawians are a law abiding people. We are known as the warm heart of Africa. The commitment of all Presidential candidates through the Lilongwe Peace Declaration confirms these sentiments.
The Commission is preparing to announce its determination of the results of these elections on Friday, 30 May, or as the Court may direct.
MESN Verification Statement on Partial Official Results announced by the MEC
Delivered in Blantyre – 24 May 2014
Ladies and gentlemen, last night at 10 pm on 23 May the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) announced partial official results for the presidential election. The Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN), as part of it comprehensive observation effort for the 2014 Tripartite Elections, conducted a Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) exercise to verify the accuracy of the official results for the presidential election as announced by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC).
Under this initiative, MESN deployed 800 trained and accredited PVT Observers to a representative random sample of polling stations located of 800 polling stations, representing more than 1.3 million registered voters, located across all three regions, all 28 districts and all 193 constituencies.
The PVT methodology is based upon well-established and widely-accepted statistical principles. PVT’s are a common tool of citizen observer and have been conducted across Africa, including: Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. The PVT is not new to Malawi. The methodology was used here in 1999 and 2009 – in both cases the PVT verified the accuracy of the official results.
The PVT is based solely upon the official results announced at sampled polling stations. As previously reported by MESN, at over 85% of polling stations the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the People’s Party (PP) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) had party agents present and signed the official results form for the presidential election (MEC.060c) signifying they agreed with the announced results.
PVT Observers did not count any ballot papers themselves nor did they ask any voter whom he/she had voted. The PVT did not rely on any information from print or electronic media. It is an entirely independent exercise conducted solely by MESN with the intent of providing independent information on the accuracy of the official result of the presidential election regardless of the outcome.
MESN has analysed the partial official results released thus far by the MEC. The results from the 30 percent of polling stations announced by the MEC track closely with the data from the PVT when the response rate by region and district is taken into account. Malawians should have confidence that the results released thus far from the MEC are an accurate reflection of those polling stations that have been tallied.
However, the distribution of the polling stations announced by MEC is not representative of the entire country. Results from more polling stations in Northern and Southern region have been processed than for Central region. Thus, the final official results to be announced by the MEC are likely to be different from the partial results released by the MEC on 23 May.
Based on reports from 795 of its 800 PVT Observers, MESN can state with 99% confidence that when the MEC announces the final and official results for the presidential election:
• Prof. Peter Mutharika should receive between 32.7% and 39.3% of the vote;
• Dr. Lazarus Chakwera should receive between 25.1% and 31.7% of the vote;
• Dr. Joyce Banda should receive between 18.2% and 21.8% of the vote;
• Atupele Muluzi should receive 11.9% and 15.5% of the vote; and
• The remaining 8 presidential candidates combined should receive between 1.2% and 3.0% of the vote.
• MESN’s PVT data also shows that the final turnout figure for the presidential election will be between 68.7% to 72.5% (of which between 1.4% and 2.0% of ballots will be declared null and void because the voter’s intention could not be clearly determined).
• The estimates provided by MESN are not the official results for the presidential election. Only the MEC can announce official results.
However, MESN’s estimates are exclusively based on the official results as announced by MEC presiding officers at a representative random sample of polling stations as recorded by MESN PVT Observers.
• MESN is sharing this information because despite the challenges experienced so far with the 2014 Tripartite Elections the integrity of the process has not been fundamentally undermined. While there were problems with the delivery of polling materials that resulted in the late opening of polling stations and there have been serious delays with the tallying process, there is no evidence to suggest that these are more than logistical issues. MESN also believes it is important to release this information at this time to provide the Malawian people with an accurate and independent picture given concerns raised by various interested parties.
• MESN calls on all political parties, candidates and Malawians to be calm and to show political restraint as the MEC continues to tally the results from the 4,445 polling stations and announces the official results for the presidential elections.
LOCATION AND METHOD OF COUNTING PRESIDENTIAL BALLOTS BY REGION (753 of 800 REPORTING)
The instructions to the presiding officer were for ballot papers to be counted at the polling stream.
MEC RECEIVES 135 COMPLAINTS
MEC Commissioners and Mbendera on the right close to Commissioner Nancy Tembo
As counting of votes continues, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has received 135 complaints to its Complaints Handling Unit.
MEC chairperson Jutice Maxon Mbendera told a news conference on Friday that the commission was considering each complaint. He said the commission had already contacted back most of those that had submitted the complaints.
“Those that have not yet been contacted back will be contacted soon,” said Mbendera.
Mbendera said there were challenges in some one percent of centres but the commission managed to put in place measures to address them.
Mbendera said the commission would not be hurried to announce results. [Deogratias Mmana, Public, Media Relations Officer]
MEC NULLIFIES VOTES IN DISRUPTED CENTRES
By Deogratias Mmana
Mbendera: Go and vote again
Malawi Electoral Commission has nullified votes in centres that were disrupted on Monday and has asked the registered voters to go and vote again.
MEC chairperson Maxon Mbendera said new ballot papers were printed for the disrupted centres. Official figures show there are 13 centres that were disrupted.
“Voters will dip their left index finger instead of the right finger,” said Mbendera at a news conference on Wednesday at the Comesa Hall in Blantyre.
He said the Commission would give preliminary results when they are at 30 and 70 percent before giving the final results.
Malawians had the first tripartite elections on Monday with 12 presidential candidates contesting for the seat.
MESN Second Election Day Situational Statement
MESN Observers report that while a significant number of polling stations opened late across the country, particular in southern region as previously reported by MESN, that as of 8:00am at least 85% of polling stations were open and that as of mid-day at least 95% were open. Click here to read the full statement.