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Volume 705: debated on Wednesday 19 November 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In view of attempts to rename the President of Malawi “Life President”, what steps they will take to make upholding democracy in that country, in particular the staging of free and fair elections in May 2009, a condition of United Kingdom aid to Malawi. [HL6066]

The UK, with its EU, Commonwealth and other international partners, is working closely with the Malawian authorities, and with the electoral commission in particular, to try to ensure that next year's presidential and parliamentary elections are free, fair and credible. The Government, through the Department for International Development (DfID), are providing £4 million to support the process, including technical preparations (for example to strengthen the capacity of the electoral commission by buying an electronic computerised voter registration system). We are also actively observing the voter registration process. High Commission officials have visited some 200 registration centres in all parts of the country, and we will be discussing our findings with the authorities. Other DfID and High Commission programmes are supporting democratic processes, including strengthening the media and Parliament, and conflict mitigation.