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MCP, UTM ‘seal’ deal

TO JOIN FORCES—Chakwera (right) and Chilima

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM have reportedly agreed to have Lazarus Chakwera as the alliance flag carrier and Saulos Chilima as the running mate in the forthcoming fresh presidential election scheduled for May 19 2020.

Sources within the two parties’ ranks and file have confided in The Daily Times that Chakwera and Chilima have been meeting for the past two days and that the alliance deal was struck on Saturday.

But MCP Publicity Secretary, Maurice Munthali, Sunday said he could not comment on the reports but simply said there was progress on the talks.

“MCP gave powers to the president who came up with a committee to discuss with UTM for a possible alliance. The two committees have been meeting and what we can tell Malawians is that let us pray for these talks and for our leaders so that something good can come out of these talks. At an appropriate time, Malawians will be told the outcome of the talks,” Munthali said.

On her part, UTM secretary-general, Patricia Kaliati, said she was not aware of the reports but was quick to say that at an opportune time, they will communicate to Malawians on the progress made on the alliance talks.

According to our sources, it is expected that the two sides will have a joint press conference either tomorrow or Wednesday to brief Malawians on the matter.

This comes at a time MCP vice-president, Sidik Mia, said he was ready to give up his running mate position in the event that the alliance talks materialise.

Mia was running mate to Chakwera in the nullified May 21 2019 presidential election whereas Michael Usi was Chilima’s running mate.

There has been growing pressure on MCP and UTM to join forces ahead of the fresh election since the Constitutional Court delivered its judgement and ordered a fresh election whose winner would be determined based on 50 percent-plus-one of the votes after the court clarified on the meaning of ‘majority’.

Winners of previous elections were determined based on the First-past-the post threshold.

However, the 50-percent-plus-one has necessitated the electoral alliances because in last year’s polls, Mutharika was deemed the winner by 38 percent followed by Chakwera and Chilima at 35 and 20 percent respectively.

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