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National Assembly

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Parliament name National Assembly
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Structure of parliament Unicameral
Affiliation to the IPU Yes
Affiliation date(s) 1968 - 2003
2010 -
President Richard Msowoya (M) 
Notes Elected on 16 June 2014.
Secretary General Fiona Kalemba (F) 
Members (statutory / current number) 193 / 192

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Women (current number) 32 (16.67%)
Mode of designation directly elected 193
Term 5 years
Last renewal dates 20 May 2014
(View details)
Address National Assembly
Chief M´mbelwa House
City Centre
Lilongwe 3
(Export mailing lists)
Phone (265) 1773 566
1773 208
Fax (265) 1774 196
1771 340
E-mail parliament@malawi.net


Parliament name National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Electoral law 16 May 1994
Mode of designation directly elected 193
Constituencies 193 single-member constituencies.
Voting system Majority: Simple majority system, with each elector casting one vote.
Vacancies arising between general elections are filled through a by-election.
Voting is not compulsory.
Voter requirements - age: 18 years
- Malawian citizenship (or non-citizens who have been ordinarily resident in Malawi for seven years)
- ordinary residence in a constituency or birth, employment or business there
- Malawians living abroad cannot vote.
- disqualifications: mental incompetence, death sentence
Eligibility Qualified electors
- age: 21 years
- Malawian citizenship
- ability to speak and read the English language well enough to take an active part in the proceedings of Parliament
- ineligibility: allegiance to a foreign State, conviction for a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, undischarged bankruptcy
Incompatibilities - public office
- membership of the armed forces or police
Candidacy requirements (data unavailable)


Parliament name National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 20 May 2014
Timing and scope of renewal The 2014 elections returned a fragmented parliament with no party securing an outright majority in the 193-member National Assembly. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), now led by Mr. Peter Mutharika (younger brother of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika), remained the largest party with 50 seats, significantly less than the 113 that it had taken in 2009. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP), led by former cleric Lazurus Chakwera, followed with 48 seats, up from 27. The People's Party (PP) took 26 seats. The PP was formed in 2011 by the then Vice President Joyce Banda, after she left the DPP. Ms. Banda subsequently became the country's first female President in 2012, following the death of President Mutharika. A record 52 independent candidates were elected, up from 33.

During the election campaign, the major parties ran on a similar platform, promising poverty alleviation, improved agriculture, better education, health services and employment. President Banda underscored that her government had addressed fuel shortages and high inflation, which she said were inherited from the previous DPP-led administration. Opposition forces criticized the President for mishandling the so-called "Cashgate" scandal, which resulted in the suspension of foreign aid for the fiscal year 2013-2014. DPP leader Mutharika referred to his brother's achievements as President. The MCP, which had led Malawi to independence from the United Kingdom in 1964, promised to restore decency, hope, prosperity and development.

Three elections took place on 24 May, for the President, parliament and local councils. Due to logistical problems, some polling stations opened 10 hours later than scheduled, triggering riots. The Election Commission announced that the number of votes cast in several polling stations exceeded the number of registered voters. On 24 May, President Banda ordered fresh parliamentary and presidential elections be held within 90 days, citing "rampant irregularities". She stated that she would no longer be a presidential candidate. The High Court issued an injunction later the same day, stopping President Banda from interfering with the vote. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Election Observer mission, while noting some shortcomings, declared the elections were "free, peaceful and credible".

The Election Commission declared that Mr. Peter Mutharika (DPP) had won the presidential elections. The latter was sworn in as President on 31 May.
Date of previous elections: 19 May 2009

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: 20 March 2014

Timing of election: Upon normal expiry

Expected date of next elections: May 2019

Number of seats at stake: 193 (full renewal)

Number of candidates: 1,290 (1,033 men, 257 women)

Percentage of women candidates: 19.2%

Number of parties contesting the election: 17

Number of parties winning seats: 6

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 9 June 2014

Name of the new Speaker: Mr. Richard Msowoya (Malawi Congress Party, MCP)
Voter turnout
Round no 120 May 2014
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
5'234'506 (70.07%)
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political group Candidates Votes % of votes
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
Malawi Congress Party (MCP)
People's Party (PP)
United Democratic Front (UDF)
Alliance for Democracy (AFORD)
Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total of seats
Independents 52
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 50
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) 48
People's Party (PP) 26
United Democratic Front (UDF) 14
Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) 1
Chipani Cha Pfuko (CCP) 1
Distribution of seats according to sex


Percent of women


Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Malawi Electoral Commission (11.06.2014, 18.06.2014)

The distribution of seats above refers to 192 seats. Elections did not take place in one constituency due to the sudden death of one of the candidates.


Parliament name National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Title Speaker of the National Assembly
Term - duration: 5 years (term of House)
- reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, death, dissolution, elected President, Vice-President, Minister, Vice-Minister or Senator
Appointment - elected by all the Member
- election is held at the first sitting of the newly elected Assembly or when a vacancy occurs
Eligibility - any Member of the Assembly can be a candidate
Voting system elected by majority vote
Procedures / results NA (no information received)
Status - in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker can assume his/her role and functions
Material facilities NA (no information received)
Organization of parliamentary business - convenes sessions
- establishes and modifies the agenda
- organizes the debates and sets speaking time
- examines the admissibility of petitions, questions, bills and amendments
Chairing of public sittings - can open, adjourn and close sittings, within the framework of the Standing Orders
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- makes announcements concerning the Assembly
- takes disciplinary measures in the event of disturbance, and lifts such measures
- establishes the list of speakers, gives and withdraws permission to speak
- establishes the order in which amendments are taken up and selects which amendments are to be debated
- calls for a vote, decides how it is to be carried out, verifies the voting procedure and cancels a vote in the event of irregularities
- checks the quorum
- authenticates the adopted texts and the records of debates
Special powers - is responsible for safety, and in this capacity, can call the police in the event of disturbance in the Chamber
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - takes part in voting, only in the case of a tied vote

This page was last updated on 9 December 2015
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