The active participation of Malawians in the elections on 21 May showed their resolve to reinforce and build on the country's democratic tradition.
The first findings of the EU Election Observation Mission, headed by Chief Observer Miroslav Poche, indicate that the tripartite elections were generally well-organized and calm and that, overall, fundamental freedoms and rights were respected during a highly competitive campaign, which included public debates at both national and local level. The positive role of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in addressing its very challenging responsibilities deserves particular recognition. It is essential that the MEC finalises the results process in a transparent manner and that all actors support the MEC in ensuring that the full electoral process, including the treatment of complaints, is allowed to run its course, within the context of the relevant legal framework.
Notwithstanding this it will be important to review closely some areas for improvement, including allegations of misuse of state resources and handouts, the treatment of female candidates, and irresponsible and provocative statements made by candidates and propagated in the media. It is vital that these aspects, some of which were also noted in the European Union's observation of the 2014 elections, are addressed promptly and effectively. The EU Election Observation Mission will remain on the ground until the electoral process is completed before issuing a final report which will include recommendations for further strengthening the electoral framework in Malawi.
The European Union takes this opportunity to reiterate its readiness to support Malawi's democratically elected government in accelerating national reforms, including those linked to its democratic development, to ensure a positive and peaceful future for all Malawians.