/ 10 August 2007

Malawi opposition ordered to end boycott

Malawi’s Parliament reconvenes next week to debate and pass the impoverished African nation’s already delayed budget after the Supreme Court ordered the opposition to end a boycott, an official said on Friday.

Parliament spokesperson Leonard Mengezi said that the speaker of the 193-member house, Louis Chimango, has ”summoned all Cabinet ministers, deputies and MPs to reconvene on Monday afternoon in Parliament chambers”.

He said the move followed an order by the Supreme Court on Thursday, which turned down an injunction sought by the opposition to stop the legislature from debating the budget.

”The business committee of Parliament will be meeting on Friday afternoon to set the agenda on whether to tackle the budget first,” he said.

Malawi’s opposition, which holds 105 of the Parliament’s 193 seats, had earlier obtained a court injuction barring debate on the country’s budget.

It was seeking to first pass legislation that would permit the speaker to expel any MPs who cross the floor to join the government — a measure that, if implemented, could lead to the government of President Bingu wa Mutharika being toppled and early elections. — AFP