Malawi is divided into three regions and 28 districts. Lilongwe and Blantyre are the country’s major cities.
Following many years of a one-party regime, the country’s first free elections were held in 1994, with several parties running. The most recent elections were held on 21 May 2019.
The constitution lays down the separation of powers. This is backed up by monitoring agencies such as the National Audit Office, the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the ombudsman. Government institutions only operate to a limited extent.
The President is also Head of Government. He is in a strong position, as he is elected directly by the people.
Parliament is made up of 193 members, who were elected under a first‑past‑the‑post system. In addition to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, five other parties hold seats in Parliament.
The Government’s main priorities are to eradicate poverty, promote food security and boost economic development. The focus is on supporting agriculture and improving the education and health systems.
Under the constitution, women have equal rights to men. In reality, however, equal opportunities are still a long way off in Malawi. To date, the country has one of the highest rates of girls under 18 who are married. Underage marriage was banned in 2017. However, implementation of the ban is proving to be slow.