The European Union Elections Observer Mission (EU EOM) during last year’s elections has succumbed to pressure to shelve its plan to present its final election report amid strong opposition from political and legal players in the country.
Local elections stakeholders have cited the risk of falling into the trap of subjudice as well as avoiding inciting outrage among citizens during a period of political volatility.
Main opposition parties MCP and UTM snubbed proposed meetings with the EU officials in earlier communication, citing court action as the main reason.
Both MCP President Lazarus Chakwera and UTM President Saulosi Chilima separately wrote the EU expressing reservations on the meeting arrangement over the matter.
In a statement issued by the Malawi Law Society and addressed to EU Head of Delegation Arelie Valtat has also weighed in to the calls to delay the submission.
“Considering that the outcome of the presidential elections is still in dispute at the Court and given the status of your institution, the Law Society is of the view that releasing your final report at this time risks falling foul of the subjudice rule besides playing as a catalyst to potential public unrest on issues concerning the presidential elections and possibly places your institution in breach of your duty under section 110 of the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act not to interfere in, or impede the normal course of the election,” reads part of the statement signed by MLS Chairperson Burton Chigondongo Mhango.
According to Mhango, Section 103 of the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act limits the role of the international observers to the time official results are announced.
“In relation to the presidential elections of 21 May, 2019, we would therefore expect that your final report should be delivered after the settlement of presidential election case in courts,” advised Mhango.
The Constitutional Court is due to preside over a ruling on the controversial elections dispute sometime later this month or early next month.