The European Union has cautioned the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) to avoid repeating mistakes encountered in this year’s tripartite elections.

EU wants the electoral system for the 2019 tripartite elections to be thoroughly tested well in advance before the polling day.

Head of the Economic and Public Affairs Section of the delegation of the European Union to Malawi Mateja Peternelj said this week in Lilongwe at an electoral post-mortem meeting where she told the electoral body that an alternative option of result transmission should be put into place.

She said the EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) came up with this position after closely watching and following developments throughout the electoral process, from preparations, voting, counting, and tabulation to publication of results.

Peternelj cautioned: “Observations and recommendations of the EU EOM, previously and elsewhere, have withstood the test of time and proved vital for a consolidation of democracy.”

She said a number of challenges were noted with regards to election administration and this prompted the EOM to make a few suggestions.

“Though successful in the eyes of many stakeholders, the 20 May 2014 tripartite elections posed significant challenges, largely due to a number of organisational and logistical shortcomings,” she added.

“Mec should conduct an internal review in light of its limited capacity in organizing these elections, so that necessary logistical and operational arrangements for the Election Day can be thoroughly planned and put in place well in advance,” she said.

Peternelj said this should include an adequate and reliable results management system which should be designed to ensure integrity and reliability in the collection, aggregation and publication of results.

“The last recommendation I wish to mention is with regard to voter registration,” she said pointing out that the observation mission reiterated during the last mission that it is essential to ensure that political parties and other stakeholders have access to the final voter register sufficiently in advance of the elections.

The European Union deployed an Election Observation Mission, comprised of more than 80 observers from all 28 EU Member States and Norway, to observe the 2014 tripartite elections following an invitation from Mec.

“Observers were deployed throughout the country to follow the electoral process and met with government and electoral officials, candidates and political parties, civil society representatives and the media,” she said.

She, however, said the obserers observed that Malawians have, in the last tripartite elections, demonstrated their full understanding of the fundamental tenets of democracy.

Mec Chairperson Justice Maxon Mbendera said they have listened to the suggestions and will continue engaging stakeholders in preparations for the 2019 tripartite elections.

The National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Public Trust and the Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) organised the event to take stock of the 2014 tripartite elections.

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