Updated December 2009
The Constitution of Malawi mandates the establishment of an Electoral Commission that is independent of any external authority (Constitution 1994, Articles 75, 76(4)). The High Court has the right of judicial review over the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to ensure that it acts in accordance with the Constitution and Acts of Parliament (Constitution 1994, Articles 76(3), (5)(a)). The National Assembly has the power to confirm the constituency boundaries but is not empowered to alter them, except upon recommendation of the MEC. The MEC is assisted in the execution of its tasks by a Chief Elections Officer who is appointed by the MEC and answerable to it (Constitution 1994, Article 76(5)(b), Electoral Commission Act 1998, 12(1)-(3)).
The MEC comprises a Chairperson, who is a judge of the Supreme Court nominated by the Judicial Service Commission and other members, not fewer than six, who are appointed by the President on consultation with the leaders of the political parties represented in the National Assembly. Members may be removed by the President, on advice of the Public Appointments Committee, for incompetence or incapacity (Constitution 1994, Article 75(1), (4); Electoral Commission Act 1998, 4(1)).
The functions of the MEC are to (Constitution 1994, Article 76(2); Electoral Commission Act 1998, 8(1)):
Office is for a four year period, unless appointed for a new four-year term (Constitution 1994, 75(3)(a)).
The eight members of the MEC are (MEC 2009):
Chief Elections Officer David Bandawe (MEC 2009).
The MEC is funded in the main by parliamentary appropriations and in part by foreign donors (Electoral Commission Act 1998, 15, EISA 2004).
CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI 1994, [www] http://www.sdnp.org.mw/constitut/brfindx.html [opens new window] (accessed 22 Feb 2010).
EISA 2004 Election Update: Malawi 2004, 2, 15.
ELECTORAL COMMISSION ACT 1998, 12(1)-(3).
MEC 2009 "Current Commission", [www] http://www.mec.org.mw/AboutMEC/Management/tabid/55/Default.aspx [opens new window] (accessed 9 Dec 2009).
MEC: http://www.mec.org.mw/ [opens new window] (accessed 9 Dec 2009).