Malawians losing confidence in elections; demand electoral reforms

At a glance

Support for elections: The proportion of Malawians who say elections are the best way of choosing the country’s leaders dropped from 71% in 2014 to 57%, continuing a decade-long decline. Support for elections is higher among better-educated citizens.

Disenchanted by electoral process: Only one-third of Malawians say the 2014 general elections were “completely free and fair” (19%) or “free and fair with minor problems” (13%). Respondents say low turnout for by-elections is largely due to a lack of interest or voter fatigue (22%), the feeling that voting makes no difference (17%), and the belief that elections are not free and fair (12%).

Demand for electoral reforms: Regardless of political-party affiliation, a majority of Malawians want:

  • An age limit of 70 years for presidential candidates (77%)
  • A minimum education requirement of an MSCE certificate for MPs (83%)
  • Selection of MEC members through applications rather than political-party nominations (74%)

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