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PP won’t contest 28 constituencies

By Macdonald Thom:

People’s Party (PP) has said it will not field candidates in 28 constituencies during this year’s parliamentary elections.

At a press briefing in Lilongwe on Tuesday, the party’s director of elections, Lawrence Bisika, announced that primary elections would start on January 7 and end on January 14.

Apart from saying the party would contest in 165 constituencies, Bisika also said it would contest in 330 out of the 462 wards in Local Government elections.

When asked why the party has decided not to contest in all the 193 constituencies, Bisika said the party has to contest in constituencies where its structures are ready.

“Any game has a strategy. Not fielding candidates in some constituencies does not mean we are conceding defeat in those constituencies. We cannot go to constituencies where our structures are not ready. We will not contest in some constituencies for the sake of it,” he said.

He said some of the constituencies are in the Northern, Central and Southern regions.

Bisika said the party would contest in the presidential elections, with former president Joyce Banda as its candidate.

However, Bisika said the party would field candidates in all constituencies in the Eastern Region.

Meanwhile, party’s publicity secretary Ackson Kalaile-Banda, has said they may consider contesting in all constituencies, after a verification process on the readiness of the party for the elections is through.

But political analyst Ernest Thindwa, has said failure by the party to field candidates in some constituencies and wards is an indication that it is losing popularity.

“If a party is nationally popular, it would field candidates in all constituencies. What it means is that, for those constituencies where PP is not fielding candidates, it is possible that no candidate is coming forward to present his or her name to stand for PP. The party may be struggling to find candidates,” Thindwa said.

He added: “In areas where PP is popular, you will see there will be competition and PP will field candidates. But I know even out of the 165 constituencies, most of them will perhaps go unopposed because PP is not as popular as it used to be when it was in power. When a party loses power, unfortunately, it also loses its patronage as well as resources with which it used to recruit members. This is a sign of the decline of PP in terms of popularity.”

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