CHAPTER 2:01
PARLIAMENTARY AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

   SECTION

PART I
PRELIMINARY

   1.   Short title

   2.   Application

   3.   Interpretation

PART II
THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION

   4.   Appointment of members of the Commission [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

   5.   Functions of the Commission [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

   6.   Election officers [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

   7.   Term of office of members of the Commission [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

   8.   Independence of the Commission [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

   9.   Funds [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

   10.   Allowances [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

   11.   Legal representation [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

   12.   Principal office, etc., of the Commission [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

   13.   Publicity [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

   14.   Duty to cooperate [Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

PART III
REGISTRATION OF VOTERS

   15.   Eligibility

   16.   Right and duty to register

   17.   Duty to promote registration

   18.   Single registration

   19.   Place of registration

   20.   Temporary registration officers

   21.   Registration centres

   22.   Voters registers

   23.   Evidence of a person’s eligibility to vote

   24.   Registration and issue of voters registration certificate

   25.   Up-dating of voters registers

   26.   Initialling of pages in voters rolls

   27.   Monitoring of registration by political parties

   28.   Rights and duties of representatives of political parties

   29.   Period for registration of voters

   30.   Closing of registration

   31.   Voters register open to inspection

PART IV
HOLDING OF A GENERAL ELECTION AND BY-ELECTIONS

Division I—General

   32.   General election and by-election

   33.   Delay in publication of notice pending appeal

   34.   Appointment of returning officers

   35.   Election representative

Division 2—Nomination of Members of the National Assembly

   36.   Procedure for commencing conduct of elections

   37.   Nomination of candidates

   38.   Nomination paper and supporting documents

   39.   Invalid nominations

   40.   Rejected nominations

   41.   No nomination of candidate

   41A.   Publication of names of candidates for election as member of Parliament

   42.   Procedure for uncontested election

   43.   Procedure when poll to be held

   44.   Special provisions with respect to by-elections

   45.   Deposit on nomination

   46.   Withdrawal of a candidate

   47.   Death of a candidate

Division 3—Nominations for Elections to the office of president

   48.   Notice of election to office of President

   49.   Nomination of candidates for election to the office of President

   50.   Deposit on nomination

   51.   Publication of names of Presidential candidates

   52.   Withdrawal of a candidate

   53.   No nomination of candidate for election to office of President

   54.   When fresh nominations are to be held

   55.   Procedure when poll to be held for election to office of President

PART V
CAMPAIGNING

   56.   Campaigning by political parties

   57.   Period of campaigning

   58.   Equal treatment of political parties

   59.   Freedom of expression and information

   60.   Freedom of assembly

   61.   Ethical norms during campaigning

   62.   Prohibited places for campaigning

   63.   News broadcasts and reports

   64.   Publication of books, pamphlets, etc.

   65.   Campaign posters

   66.   Campaign financing

   66A.   Campaigning by independent candidates

PART VI
POLLING STATIONS

   67.   Polling stations

   68.   Polling station officers

   69.   Working hours for polling station officers

   70.   Work items for polling station officers

   71.   Security of work items at polling stations

   72.   Monitoring of voting by political parties

   73.   Rights and duties of representatives of political parties

PART VII
THE VOTE AND VOTING PROCESS

   74.   Characteristic of the vote

   75.   Place where to cast the vote

   76.   Ballot papers

   77.   Voting booths

   78.   Ballot boxes

   79.   Right of employees to be released for voting

   80.   Hours of voting

   81.   Order of voting

   82.   Continuity of the voting process

   83.   Adjournment in certain cases

   84.   Prohibited presence, etc., at polling stations

   85.   Requirements for exercising the right to vote

   86.   Manner of casting the vote

   87.   Voting by blind and disabled persons

   88.   Null and void votes

   89.   Doubts and complaints

PART VIII
DETERMINATION OF RESULTS OF THE ELECTIONS

   90.   Unused ballot papers

   91.   Classification of votes cast

   92.   Opening of the ballot box and counting of votes

   93.   Record of the polling process

   94.   Delivery of ballot papers, etc., from polling stations

   95.   Compilation of the district result of the elections

   96.   Determination of the national result of a general election

   97.   Analysis of complaints, etc., prior to determination of the result

   98.   Record of the national result of a general election

   99.   Publication of the national result

PART IX
ELECTION PETITION IN RESPECT OF ELECTION AS MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OR TO OFFICE OF PRESIDENT

   100.   Election petition in respect of election as member of the National Assembly or to office of President

PART X
INTERNATIONAL OBSERVATION

   101.   Meaning of international observation

   102.   Scope of international observation

   103.   Beginning and end of international observation

   104.   Collaboration by competent authorities

   105.   Invitation to international observers

   106.   Categories of observers

   107.   Recognition and identification of international observers

   108.   Compulsory use of identity cards and the common badge

   109.   Rights of international observers

   110.   Obligations of international observers

   111.   Position of diplomats

   112.   Separate and joint operation of international observers

PART XI
COMPLAINTS AND APPEALS

   113.   Commission to decide on complaints

   114.   Appeals to the High Court

PART XII
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

   115.   Offences

   116.   Maintenance of secrecy

   117.   Offences under this Act cognizable offences

   118.   General Penalty

PART XIII
GENERAL

   119.   Preservation of election documents

   120.   Failure to elect a member of the National Assembly

   121.   Regulations

PART XIV
REPEALS AND SAVINGS

   122.   Repeals

   123.   Savings

31 of 1993
16 of 1994
10 of 1998
10 of 2013

An Act to make provision with respect to the conduct of elections for the election of members of Parliament and for the election of the President of the Republic and for matters ancillary thereto or connected therewith

[31ST DECEMBER 1993]

1.   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Act.

2.   Application

   This Act shall apply to the election of members of Parliament and the election to the office of the President.

3.   Interpretation

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   “ballot box” means the box into which a voter shall deposit the ballot paper or ballot papers corresponding to the candidate or candidates he has voted for in the election;

   “ballot paper” means a rectangular sheet of paper for use by a voter in expressing his vote in an election;

   “by-election” means the election of a member of the National Assembly to fill a seat in the National Assembly which has become vacant otherwise than by dissolution of Parliament;

   “candidate” means any person who has been nominated under this Act as a candidate for election as a member of the National Assembly or for election to the office of President;

   “Commission” means the Electoral Commission established under section 30 of the Constitution;

   “constituency” means an area delimited as such under section 31 of the Constitution and section 8 (1)(a) and (b) of the Electoral Commission Act;

   “Council” means the National Consultative Council established by the National Consultative Council Act 1993;

   “election” means a general election or a by-election;

   “election representative” means a person appointed by a candidate under section 35 to be the candidate’s representative for purposes of an election;

   “general election” means an election consequent upon dissolution of Parliament for the election in accordance with this Act of members of the National Assembly and the President;

   “independent candidate” means a candidate not sponsored by a political party;

   “irregularity;”, in relation to the conduct of an election, means noncompliance with the requirements of this Act;

   “National Assembly” means the National Assembly constituted under section 19 of the Constitution;

   “nomination day” means the day appointed by the Commission for the receipt of nominations of candidates for an election under this Act;

   “political party” means a political party registered under the Political Parties (Registration and Regulation) Act;

   “polling day” means any day appointed by the Commission under section 36 (1) (c) and section 48 (1) (b), for the holding of a poll;

   “polling station” means a place established as such under section 67;

   “polling station officer” means a person appointed as such under section 68 (1);

   “presiding officer” means a polling station officer designated as such under section 68 (2);

   “Referendum” means the referendum held on 14th June, 1993, under the Constitution (Referendum on Malawi’s Political System) Regulations, 1993;

   “registration” means the registration of voters;

   “returning officer” means a returning officer appointed under section 34 (1);

   “the first general election” means the first general election contested by more than one political party following the Referendum;

   “voter” means a person registered to vote in an election;

   “voters register” means the register of voters established under section 22;

   “voters registration certificate” means a certificate issued to a voter under section 24;

   “voting booth” means a compartment at a polling station for screening a voter from view when he is making his choice or choices in the poll.

PART II
THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION

4–14.

   [Sections 4–14 Repealed by Act No. 10 of 1998]

PART III
REGISTRATION OF VOTERS

15.   Eligibility

   Every citizen of Malawi residing in Malawi and who, on or before the polling day, shall have attained the age of eighteen years shall be eligible to register as a voter in an election.

16.   Right and duty to register

   It shall be the right and the civic duty of every eligible citizen to present himself for registration as a voter and further he shall have the right to verify with the Commission or its officers that he has been registered and to request that any error or omission with respect to his registration be corrected.

17.   Duty to promote registration

   The Commission shall, in accordance with this Act, create the necessary conditions and take all necessary actions for promoting awareness among the citizens of Malawi of the need to register as a voter for the purpose of an election and of the need for their full participation in the election.

18.   Single registration

   A Citizen eligible to register as a voter shall be registered only once.

19.   Place of registration

   A person shall be registered as a voter in the area where he ordinarily resides or was born or is employed or carries on business.

20.   Temporary registration officers

   (1) The Commission may employ temporary staff, on such terms and conditions as it shall determine, as registration officers who shall register voters throughout Malawi.

   (2) No person shall be employed as a registration officer with respect to any local area of Malawi, unless—

   (a)   he is a citizen of Malawi and has attained the age of eighteen years;

   (b)   he has attained the minimum educational qualification of Junior Certificate of Education or its equivalent; and

   (c)   he has knowledge of the language commonly spoken in the area.

   (3) Every registration officer shall, before commencing his duties, receive vocational training in the identification and registration of voters and generally in the requirements of this Act with respect to the registration of voters.

   (4) In the performance of their duties, registration officers shall be under the supervision of the Chief Elections Officer and such of the other election officers as he or the Commission shall designate for the purpose.

21.   Registration centres

   (1) The Commission shall establish centres throughout every constituency in Malawi as places where voters are to be registered and for this purpose the Commission shall endeavour to adopt the centres established for the registration of voters in the last previously held poll in addition to establishing new centres.

   (2) No form of propaganda campaign material or advertisement shall be exhibited at a registration centre or within a radius of one hundred metres of a registration centre.

22.   Voters registers

   Voters registers shall be in the prescribed form and the Commission shall procure sufficient copies thereof for the registration of voters throughout Malawi and for distribution to registration officers at every registration centre and for that purpose may adopt existing voters registers which shall, as necessary, be updated by registration officers with new registrations.

23.   Evidence of a person’s eligibility to vote

   An eligible person wishing to be registered as a voter in an election shall in person state that he is not registered at any other registration centre and shall present to a registration officer sufficient and cogent proof of his eligibility and may do so by producing—

   (a)   a passport, driver’s licence, even if expired, tax certificate or marriage certificate, an employment identity card or employment discharge certificate or a birth certificate or similarly authentic document of identity;

   (b)   written, verbal or visual testimony of—

      (i)   the chief, a village headman or a registered voter of the area; or

      (ii)   the registration officer.

24.   Registration and issue of voters registration certificate

   (1) Upon a registration officer being satisfied with proof of eligibility of a person to vote, he shall—

   (a)   issue to that person a voters registration certificate in the prescribed form;

   (b)   register that person in the voters register by entering the particulars of that person as prescribed therein.

   (2) If a voters registration certificate issued to a voter is lost, destroyed, defaced, torn or otherwise damaged, the voter shall notify the registration officer or other officer duly authorized in that behalf in writing giving proof thereof, and upon such officer being satisfied with such proof he shall issue to the voter a duplicate copy of that voter’s original voters registration certificate with the words “DUPLICATE” clearly marked or printed thereon.

   (3) A person to whom a voter’s registration certificate has been issued shall be personally responsible at all times for its safekeeping and shall not place or cause it to be placed in the custody of any other person or allow any other person to use it to vote in an election.

   (4) No person shall receive, keep or use, in relation to an election, a voter’s registration certificate that has not been issued to him in accordance with this section.

   (5) Any person who contravenes subsection (3) or (4), or who aids, abets or counsels, or conspires with, any person to contravene subsection (3) or (4), shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine of K50,000 and to imprisonment for seven years.

25.   Updating of voters registers

   (1) In updating a voters register the registration officer shall do so by—

   (a)   adding the names and other prescribed particulars of the voters resulting from new registration;

   (b)   drawing a line, without affecting legibility, over the particulars of the persons who are known to be deceased or who have lost eligibility to vote and indicating in the margin the reasons therefor.

   (2) The registration officer making new entries in a voters register or deleting entries therefrom shall initial every such new entry or deletion.

   (3) Upon the registration officer being satisfied with proof of loss of eligibility of a registered voter, he shall immediately update the voters register in accordance with the procedure under this section.

26.   Initialling of pages in voters rolls

   In the case of registration in a new voters register, the registration officer shall initial both sides of every page at a point where registration on the page ends.

27.   Monitoring of registration by political parties

   (1) Every political party contesting an election shall have the right to monitor the registration of voters and shall do so through its designated representatives assigned to a specified registration centre and whose names shall be notified in writing to the Commission, and in the absence of such notification by any political party it shall be presumed that such party does not desire to monitor the registration of voters at such registration centre.

   (2) The Commission shall issue to every person designated as a representative under subsection (1) a document of identity which shall be in the prescribed form.

   (3) There may be assigned to one registration centre more than one representative of a political party.

   (4) Section 89 shall apply mutatis mutandis with respect to the registration of voters.

28.   Rights and duties of representatives of political parties

   (1) Representatives of political parties shall have the following rights—

   (a)   to be treated with due respect and consideration by all persons administering the registration of voters and by the representatives of other political parties;

   (b)   to request and obtain information on activities relating to the registration of voters; and

   (c)   to submit, to the Commission, in writing complaints and appeals about any irregularities in the registration of voters.

   (2) It shall be incumbent upon the representatives of political parties in exercising their rights under subsection (1)—

   (a)   to monitor the registration activities conscientiously and objectively;

   (b)   to cooperate in order to ensure that the registration activities proceed normally by avoiding unjustified interference in and obstacles to the work of registration officers;

   (c)   to refrain from submitting complaints or appeals in bad faith or with the purpose of paralysing the registration process; and

   (d)   to refrain from divulging any information about a voter or prospective voter obtained as a consequence of acting as a representative and which is not relevant to the registration process.

   (3) In addition to political parties and their representatives any person eligible to be registered as a voter and any registered voter may submit to the Commission in writing complaints and appeals about any irregularity in the registration of voters.

   (4) The Commission shall endeavour to determine every complaint or appeal relating to registration of voters before the polling day and to remedy any confirmed irregularity.

29.   Period for registration of voters

   The period for the registration of voters shall be determined by the Commission and notified in the Gazette, being a period of not less than fourteen days expiring not less than twenty-one days before the first polling day.

30.   Closing of registration

   At the close of registration, every registration officer shall sign off the voters register assigned to him and shall forward it for custody to the Chief Elections Officer or to such other officer as is designated by the Commission for the purpose and shall submit to such officer a summary of the total number of voters registered in the area assigned to him.

31.   Voters register open to inspection

   A voters register shall be open to inspection, for purposes of verifying the entries therein, by voters, representatives of political parties and international observers, and for this purpose the Commission shall make copies of voters registers and post them for inspection at appropriate public places made known to the public.

PART IV
HOLDING OF A GENERAL ELECTION AND BY-ELECTIONS

Division 1—General

32.   General election and by-election

   (1) A general election shall be at such times as are required by the Constitution.

   (2) When a member of the National Assembly dies or resigns, or the Speaker gives notice under the relevant provision of the Constitution that a seat of a member of the National Assembly has become vacant, a by-election shall be held.

   (3) A candidate may stand for election as a member of the National Assembly or for election to the office of President either on the sponsorship of a political party or as an independent candidate, and the rights and duties conferred by this Act on political parties shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to an independent candidate as it applies to political parties.

   (4) Subject to this Act, in a general election, the poll for election of members of the National Assembly may be taken simultaneously with the poll for election to the office of President.

33.   Delay in publication of notice pending appeal

   When a member of the National Assembly has been sentenced by a court to death or imprisonment for a term exceeding twelve months, is adjudged or declared by court to be of unsound mind or bankrupt, or has been convicted of any offence prescribed under this Act, it shall not be necessary for the Speaker to give notice that such member’s seat has become vacant until the time for appeal against such decision has expired or, if there is an appeal, until the determination of that appeal.

34.   Appointment of returning officers

   (1) The Commission shall appoint a returning officer with respect to every constituency who shall receive the nominations of candidates for election in that constituency as member of the National Assembly.

   (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the Commission may designate the District Commissioner as the returning officer in respect of every constituency in his District.

35.   Election representative

   Every candidate may appoint one person to be his election representative and notify in writing the returning officer of the constituency in which he is, or intends to be, a candidate of the name so appointed.

Division 2—Nomination of Members of the National Assembly

36.   Procedure for commencing conduct of elections

   (1) Whenever a general election or a by-election is to be held, the Commission shall issue an order, notice of which shall be published in the Gazette

   (a)   declaring—

      (i)   in the case of a general election, that an election be held throughout Malawi;

      (ii)   in the case of a by-election or by-elections, the constituency or constituencies in which an election is to be held;

   (b)   appointing the place, date and time for the receipt by the returning officer of the nominations of candidates, in respect of each such constituency;

   (c)   appointing the day or days on which a poll shall be taken if a poll becomes necessary in accordance with this Act.

   (2) The date appointed under subsection (1) (b) shall be not less than fourteen days after the publication of the order.

   (3) The period appointed under subsection (1) (c) during which a poll shall be taken shall commence not less than fourteen days after the nomination of candidates.

   (4) Upon receipt of a copy of the order required by this section, the returning officer for each constituency named in the order shall proceed to hold an election in the manner prescribed by or under this Act.

37.   Nomination of candidates

   (1) On the day or days and at the time or times and place fixed for the nomination of candidates the returning officer shall attend in the open court at the place notified to receive the nomination of candidates and shall receive such nomination papers as may be tendered to him, and which appear to him to comply with this Act.

   (2) Subject to subsection (7), the nomination of every candidate shall—

   (a)   be made by means of a nomination paper in the prescribed form;

   (b)   be made by at least ten voters registered in the constituency in which the candidate intends to be a candidate, each of whom shall sign the nomination paper;

   (c)   be endorsed with the candidate’s consent to nomination;

   (d)   if the candidate is to stand for, or to be sponsored by, a political party, specify that fact, together with the name of the political party and the name of the candidate or an abbreviation of the name of the candidate, and a distinctive symbol, which the candidate wishes to appear on the ballot paper in conjunction with him; and

   (e)   in the case of an independent candidate, specify the name of the candidate or an abbreviation of the name of the candidate, and a distinctive symbol, which the candidate wishes to appear on the ballot paper in conjunction with him.

   (3) Every nominated candidate shall produce to the returning officer evidence, satisfactory to the returning officer, identifying him as the person nominated.

   (4) Where a nomination paper specifies the matters referred to in paragraph (d) of subsection (1), the nomination paper shall be countersigned by a person who is an office-bearer of the political party concerned and who has authority to certify that the candidate is to stand for that political party.

   (5) The fact that subsequent to nomination the name of any person who nominated a candidate under subsection (2) (b) is struck off the voters register shall not invalidate the nomination of the candidate.

   (6) No candidate may be nominated for election in more than one constituency or, in the case of a by-election, while he is a member of the National Assembly.

   (7) A voter shall not be entitled to subscribe to more than one nomination paper.

38.   Nomination paper and supporting documents

   (1) Every candidate or his election representative shall at the time of his nomination deliver to the returning officer—

   (a)   a nomination paper completed and executed in the prescribed form;

   (b)   evidence, or a statutory declaration by the candidate made before a magistrate or a commissioner for oaths, that the candidate—

      (i)   is a citizen of Malawi and has attained the minimum age required by the Constitution for election to the National Assembly; and

      (ii)   is able to speak and to read the English language well enough to take an active part in the proceedings of the National Assembly;

   (c)   evidence that he is registered as a voter in any constituency.

   (2) The returning officer shall, if the candidate or his election representative so requests, examine the nomination paper and supporting documents of the candidate before they are tendered and advise the candidate or his election representative whether in his opinion they are in order.

   (3) The returning officer shall, at the earliest opportunity and in any case, before the close of the period allowed for nominations, advise the candidate or his election representative of any defect in the candidate’s nomination paper or supporting documents and the candidate or his election representative may, before the close of such period, rectify the defect.

39.   Invalid nominations

   Where a nomination paper is delivered in conformity with this Part and it is not withdrawn, the candidate shall be deemed to stand nominated unless the returning officer is satisfied of the candidate’s death or decides that the nomination paper is invalid on one of the following grounds, but on no other grounds, namely—

   (a)   that the description of the candidate is insufficient to identify him;

   (b)   that the nomination paper does not comply with this Act;

   (c)   that the nomination paper was not tendered within the time prescribed;

   (d)   that any supporting document required to accompany the nomination paper has not been lodged with the returning officer; or

   (e)   that the evidence delivered to the returning officer under section 37 (3) is

40.   Rejected nominations

   (1) If, after the close of the period allowed for nominations but before the polling day, the returning officer is of the opinion that—

   (a)   a candidate whose nomination paper has been lodged with him has not been duly nominated in accordance with this Act or is not qualified for election or has obtained nomination by fraud or false pretences;

   (b)   any symbol or abbreviation specified in respect of a candidate pursuant to paragraph (d) or (e) of section 37 (2) is indecent or obscene or is too complex or elaborate to be reproduced on a ballot paper or so closely resembles the symbol of any candidate contesting the election in the constituency concerned or the recognized symbol or abbreviation of any other candidate or of any political party, other than the political party, if any, for which the candidate concerned is standing or which is sponsoring him as to be likely to cause confusion; or

   (c)   where the nomination paper states that a candidate is to stand for or to be sponsored by a political party, there is reason to believe that that fact is not true; or

   (d)   the nomination paper lodged with the returning officer in respect of any candidate is for any other reason not in order; or

   (e)   the deposit referred to in section 45 was not lodged with a candidate’s nomination paper; or

   (f)   a candidate is not qualified for election at that election; or

   (g)   a candidate has been duly nominated for election for another constituency,

   the returning officer shall forthwith notify such candidate or his election representative giving the reasons for such opinion, and, if so requested by the candidate or his election representative, the returning officer shall draw up and sign a statement of the facts and his opinion based thereon and transmit it, together with the nomination paper and any certificate or affidavit which has been lodged with such nomination paper, to the Registrar of the High Court for hearing and decision by the High Court at the earliest opportunity; and a copy of the statement shall, at the same time, be delivered to the candidate or his election representative and to the Commission.

   (2) If no request is made under subsection (1) the candidate shall be deemed not to have been duly nominated.

   (3) The High Court may call for further information from the person making the request or from the returning officer.

   (4) The High Court shall after determination of the matter direct the returning officer either to accept or to reject the nomination and the returning officer shall comply with such direction.

   (5) Where any nomination has been referred to the High Court under the provisions of this section, the proceedings under sections 41, 42 and 43 shall be suspended pending determination of the matter.

   (6) Without derogation from subsection (1), the returning officer shall not take the action under that subsection—

   (a)   solely on account of any minor variation between the name of any person as it appears on the nomination and as it appears on the voters register if the returning officer is reasonably satisfied that the variation is due to an error or is without significance;

   (b)   any other imperfection in the nomination paper if the returning officer is reasonably satisfied that there has been substantial compliance with this Part.

41.   No nomination of candidate

   If at the end of the period allowed for nomination no candidate has been duly nominated for a constituency, the Commission shall by notice published in the Gazette, extend the period for the receipt by the returning officer of nominations to a date not later than seven days before the polling day.

41A.   Publication of names of candidates for election as member of Parliament

   After receiving nominations of candidates for election as member of Parliament under this Part, the Commission shall, within fourteen days after receiving the nominations, cause to be published in the Gazette and on the radio and in at least two newspapers in general circulation in Malawi the names of all candidates who have been validly nominated for election as member of Parliament in alphabetical order of surnames.

42.   Procedure for uncontested election

   If at the end of the period allowed for nomination there shall be only one candidate duly nominated in a constituency, the returning officer shall publicly declare that candidate to be elected and shall immediately thereafter inform the Commission of the name of the elected candidate and the constituency for which he has been elected. Such candidates shall thereupon be a member of the National Assembly.

43.   Procedure when poll to be held

   (1) When two or more persons have been duly nominated as candidates for election in any constituency, the returning officer in such constituency shall, as soon as practicable after the close of the period for nomination, publicly declare and give public notice that a poll is to be taken stating—

   (a)   the names of the candidates in alphabetical order of surnames;

   (b)   the day or days and the times, as declared by the Commission under section 36, on which the poll shall be held; and

   (c)   the location of the polling station or stations.

   (2) The returning officer may, with the consent of the Commission, alter the provisions of a public notice given under subsection (1) for the purpose of fulfilling the requirements of this Act and any such alteration shall be published in the same manner as the notice.

44.   Special provisions with respect to by-elections

   (1) A vacancy in the membership of the National Assembly which exists otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of Parliament shall be published by the Speaker by notice in the Gazette stating the cause of the vacancy.

   (2) If—

   (a)   within fourteen days of the publication of a notice referred to in subsection (1), the person to whom the notice relates has not presented a petition to the High Court seeking an order declaring that he has not ceased to be a member of the National Assembly; or

   (b)   after presenting a petition referred to in paragraph (a), the petitioner by his own default does not prosecute his petition within fourteen days of presenting the petition;

   (c)   after hearing the petition, the High Court confirms the declaration of the Speaker,

   the Registrar of the High Court shall forthwith give notice of that fact to the Speaker.

   (3) If, after hearing a petition referred to in subsection (2), the High Court makes an order declaring that the petitioner has not ceased to be a member of Parliament, the Registrar of the High Court shall forthwith give notice of that fact to the Speaker, who shall publish a notice in the Gazette stating the effect of the order of the High Court.

   (4) The Attorney General shall be respondent on the hearing of a petition referred to in subsection (2).

45.   Deposit on nomination

   (1) At the same time as the nomination paper for a candidate is lodged, there shall be deposited with the returning officer by or on behalf of the person nominated, such sum as may be determined by the Commission, which shall not be refundable.

   (2) If a poll for the constituency concerned does not take place, the sum deposited under subsection (1) shall be refundable to the payee.

   (3) The Commission shall, six months before the nomination day—

   (a)   determine the sum to be deposited under subsection (1); and

   (b)   publish in the Gazette, on the radio and in at least two newspapers in general circulation in Mala wi, the sum determined under subsection (1).

46.   Withdrawal of a candidate

   (1) Subject to this section, a duly nominated candidate for elections for a constituency may withdraw his nomination at any time before the polling day.

   (2) A withdrawal of a candidate under subsection (1) shall be effected by means of a written notification to the returning officer, signed by the candidate personally, and the returning officer shall notify the Commission in writing.

   (3) Where a candidate has withdrawn his nomination under this section the sum deposited by or on his behalf under section 45 shall be forfeited and paid into the Consolidated Fund.

   (4) In the event of a candidate withdrawing his nomination under this section, the returning officer shall take all such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that—

   (a)   the withdrawal is brought to the attention of voters in the constituency; and

   (b)   the name of the candidate who has withdrawn is either omitted or deleted from all ballot papers.

   (5) A withdrawal of a candidate under this section shall be voluntary and shall be under oath sworn by the candidate before a commissioner of oaths.

   (6) Any person who, in any way induces or influences a candidate to withdraw from an election shall be guilty of an offence.

47.   Death of a candidate

   (1) If the returning officer of a constituency is satisfied that a duly nominated candidate for election in that constituency died before the close of the poll in that constituency, he shall stop all proceedings relating to the election in that constituency and forthwith notify the Commission of that fact.

   (2) Where—

   (a)   the Commission is satisfied that a duly nominated candidate for election for a constituency died before the poll commenced or, if the polls has commenced, before the close thereof;

   (b)   the proceedings relating to an election for a constituency have been stopped under subsection (1),

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