conventional long form: Republic of Malawi

conventional short form: Malawi

local long form: Dziko la Malawi

local short form: Malawi

former: British Central African Protectorate, Nyasaland Protectorate, Nyasaland

etymology: named for the East African Maravi Kingdom of the 16th century; the word "maravi" means "fire flames"

Government type
presidential republic

Capital
name: Lilongwe

geographic coordinates: 13 58 S, 33 47 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named after the Lilongwe River that flows through the city

Administrative divisions
28 districts; Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Likoma, Lilongwe, Machinga, Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Neno, Ntcheu, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntchisi, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima, Thyolo, Zomba

Independence
6 July 1964 (from the UK)

National holiday
Independence Day, 6 July (1964); note - also called Republic Day since 6 July 1966

Constitution
history: previous 1953 (preindependence), 1964, 1966; latest drafted January to May 1994, approved 16 May 1994, entered into force 18 May 1995

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage of amendments affecting constitutional articles, including the sovereignty and territory of the state, fundamental constitutional principles, human rights, voting rights, and the judiciary, requires majority approval in a referendum and majority approval by the Assembly; passage of other amendments requires at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly; amended several times, last in 2017

Legal system
mixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Appeal

International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship
citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Malawi

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
chief of state: President Lazarus CHAKWERA (since 28 June 2020); Vice President Saulos CHILIMA (since 3 February 2020); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Lazarus CHAKWERA (since 28 June 2020); Vice President Saulos CHILIMA (since 3 February 2020)

cabinet: Cabinet named by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 23 June 2020 (next to be held in 2025)

election results: Lazarus CHAKWERA elected president; Lazarus CHAKWERA (MCP) 59.3%, Peter Mutharika (DPP) 39.9%, other 0.8% (2020)

Legislative branch
description: unicameral National Assembly (193 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 21 May 2019 (next to be held in May 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party - n/a; seats by party - DPP 62, MCP 55, UDF 10, PP 5, other 5, independent 55, vacant 1; composition - men 161, women 32, percent of women 16.6%

Judicial branch
highest courts: Supreme Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and at least 3 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly; other judges appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, which regulates judicial officers; judges serve until age 65

subordinate courts: High Court; magistrate courts; Industrial Relations Court; district and city traditional or local courts

Political parties and leaders
Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [Peter MUTHARIKA]
Malawi Congress Party or MCP [Lazarus CHAKWERA]
Peoples Party or PP [Joyce BANDA]
United Democratic Front or UDF [Atupele MULUZI]
United Transformation Movement or UTM [Saulos CHILIMA]