In Malawi, the country's three million voters have been to the polls on Thursday (29 June) for the first time since 1961.
In Malawi, the country's three million voters have been to the polls on Thursday (29 June) for the first time since 1961. There have been three elections since 1961 -- but each time there was no voting, because the candidates were returned unopposed. Until now, the country's members of parliament have been chosen by the President for life, Kamuzu Banda -- from a list submitted by malawi's only political party, the Malawi Congress Party.
SYNOPSIS: All candidates are members of the Congress Party -- and they are contesting 47 of the country's 87 constituencies. Officials said the early signs were that there would be a good turn out. The election campaign has been low-key. There has been no canvassing,and the candidates were introduced to the public at party meetings. Seven seats have been declared vacant because the candidates failed a compulsory English test, designed to ensure they can take part in Parliamentary proceedings. Thirty-three seats have already been filled, with the candidates returned unopposed.
In most cases the voters have been choosing between two or three candidates. Nominations were made at party meetings earlier in the year, and were then forwarded to President Banda, who is also life president of the Congress Party, for final approval. President Banda has announced that all government ministers have ceased to hold office, and that a new cabinet will be appointed after the election results are known.