LILONGWE, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Saturday launched its electoral observation mission here ahead of the country's tripartite elections on May 21.
In his launch statement, Head of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) Joseph Malanji acknowledged Malawi's progress towards strengthening its democracy over the last 25 years since the first multiparty elections in 1994.
He encouraged all stakeholders to ensure that the 2019 Tripartite Elections are conducted in a peaceful and secure environment, and expressed optimism that the electoral process will adhere to the laws and in conformity with the democratic values and principles envisioned in various SADC treaties and agreements concerning democratic elections.
"(The) SADC observes elections in its member states based on the revised principles and guidelines which are also informed by key instruments of the African Union, such as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance of 2007 as well as relevant conventions of the United Nations," said Malanji, who also serves as Zambia's foreign minister.
Malanji also said the SEOM observers will cover all the three regions and 27 of the 28 districts of Malawi focussing on pre-, during and post- election phases, and the security situation and overall state preparedness of the Malawi Electoral Commission.
The SEOM would, among other factors, assess measures put in place to prevent corruption, bribery, political violence, intimidation and intolerance, Malanji added.
The SEOM to the Malawian elections consists of 39 members drawn from eight SADC member states of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The SEOM is expected to release its judgement on Malawi's elections on May 23 after the polls' results.
Over 6.8 million Malawians have registered to vote across the country in the election with seven presidential candidates.