Parliamentary Chamber: National Assembly


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  National Assembly

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  15 June 1999

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  Like the previous (May 1994) elections - the first held on a multi-party basis since independence - those of 1999 were held simultaneously with polling for President of the Republic. The election date itself was rescheduled twice as a result mainly of the opposition's repeated requests that the voter registration period which began in March be extended.

Altogether some 670 candidates and 11 parties were in the running for the enlarged National Assembly's 193 seats (increased from 177), while five candidates contested the presidential race. The leading groups were incumbent President Bakili Muluzi's ruling United Democratic Front (UDF), the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and its ally known as the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), led by Mr. Chakufwa Chihana. The MCP - which had ruled unchallenged until 1994 under President Hastings Kamuzu Banda - nominated Mr. Gwanda Chakuamba for the presidency. During the campaign, the opposition parties accused the UDF government of abetting corruption and failing to deliver on more jobs, housing, schools and clinics, or alleviating the widespread poverty. Mr. Muluzi countered by stating that his administration had done its best in a generally harsh global economic environment and had brought the citizenry political and human rights it had been denied under long-time President Banda.

In contrast to violent clashes between supporters of the main parties during the pre-election period, polling day itself - monitored by international observers - was generally peaceful and marked by a high turnout. After some confusion surrounding the results when both sides claimed the lead, Mr. Muluzi was proclaimed the presidential victor on 18 June by the Electoral Commission, defeating Mr. Chakuamba, the joint MCP-AFORD candidate. This announced outcome was immediately contested by the opposition, which alleged fraud. In the parliamentary races, however, UDF came up just short of its allied challengers (93 seats to 95), with four seats going to independents.

On 21 June, President Muluzi was sworn in for a second five-year term amid reports of violence in opposition strongholds. One week later, his new Cabinet was named; it was sworn in on 1 July.

Round no 1 (15 June 1999): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 5 071 822
Voters 4 680 262 (92 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 191 357
Valid votes 4 488 905

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
United Democratic Front (UDF) 2 122 532 47.28
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) 1 518 044 33.82
Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) 474 054 10.56
Independents 319 898 7.13
Others 54 377 1.21

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
United Democratic Front (UDF) 93
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) 66
Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) 29
Independents 4
Others 0

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 177
Women: 16
Percent of women: 8.29

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Copyright 1999 Inter-Parliamentary Union