Malawi postpones local polls

2011-05-25 13:41
Blantyre - Malawi's local elections will only be held in 2014, the electoral commission said on Wednesday, after an embezzlement scandal forced the government to scrap the polls that had been planned for last month.

A brief statement by the commission's chairperson Anastasia Msosa said that following "consultations with the president of the Republic of Malawi, the government has decided to postpone the local government elections to 2014".

The polls had been slated for last month, but were delayed after an audit found $3m missing from the electoral commission's coffers. Three accounting employees have been arrested over the case.

President Bingu wa Mutharika, who ends his second five-year term in 2014, has the power to set a date for elections.

Msosa did not indicate whether the local polls will be held alongside the general elections in 2014.

Malawi held its only municipal polls in 2000, six years after the first multi-party elections in 1994 ended three decades of dictatorship under Kamuzu Banda.

The next polls scheduled for 2005 were cancelled due to a famine that affected half of Malawi's population.

There has been several postponements since then.

A British envoy once criticised Malawi for delays in holding the elections, saying the country had remained in an "unconstitutional position as far as local assembly elections are concerned".

Read more on:    malawi  |  southern africa

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