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Malawi's new parliament sworn in
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10:25, June 02, 2009

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Malawi on Monday started swearing in its legislators who emerged victors during the May 19 polls.

The process will be completed on Tuesday when all the 191 legislators will take their oaths of office and allegiance before Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo. Malawi parliament has 193 members but elections did not take place in one constituency in the commercial capital Blantyre.

Another by-election will also be conducted in a constituency that was won by Vice President Joyce Banda, who automatically relinquished the parliamentary seat as the country's constitution does not allow a person to hold two public offices.

Speaking during the ceremony, Clerk of Parliament Matilda Katopola said legislators were by law required to take both oaths before they start their work in accordance with Section 52 of the Malawi Constitution.

"Under section 52 of the constitution of the Republic of Malawi MPs are supposed to take oath of office and oath of allegiance," said Katopola.

Presently the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has 113 parliamentarians in its fold compared with 26 members for the former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and 17 members for the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). The house also has 32 independent legislators.

Other political parties that got a seat each are Maravi People's Party (MPP), Alliance for Democracy (Aford) and Malawi Forum for Unity and Development (MAFUNDE).

However, the ruling DPP is likely to consolidate its power in the country's parliament as most independent legislators have already started joining the party.

Malawians went to the polls on May 19 to elect a president and a parliament for the next five years. The incumbent president, Bingu Wa Mutharika was overwhelmingly reelected for his final fiveyear term of office with 2.9 million votes against his main challenger MCP-UDF Alliance contender, John Tembo, who got 1.3 million votes.

The swearing in of the legislators will be followed by an orientation for new members slated for Wednesday to Friday.


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