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Presidential aspirants hit 20

By Peter Kanjere:

The number of presidential aspirants who are posturing for the May 21 Tripartite Elections has risen from 13 to 20 in three weeks, Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) announced Thursday.

The number of the aspirants is more than the 12 presidential candidates that contested in the 2014 general elections when incumbent Peter Mutharika, who has collected the nomination papers, emerged the winner.

The latest to collect the nomination papers as per updated list, which Mec Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika released Thursday, are John Chisi of Umodzi Party, Alliance for Democracy’s Enock Chihana, Sally Kumwenda Yadwad (Leadership with Compassion), Reverend D.Kaliya, Florence Fulayi, Rhodrick Makhambera (independents), Loudon Malingamoyo Phiri (National Salvation Front).

The seven aspirants have joined the governing Democratic Progressive Party’s torch bearer Mutharika, Malawi Congress Party leader Lazarus Chakwera, Atupele Muluzi (United Democratic Front), Cassim Chilumpha (Tikonze Peoples Party), Joyce Banda (People’s Party), Ras David Chikomeni Chirwa, Baxter Natulu, Henry Mdebwe, Smart Swira (independents), Saulos Chilima (UTM), Peter Kuwani (Mbakuwaku Movement for Development), Chimbuna Belekiah (United Independent Party) and Chris Daza (Democratic People’s Congress).

Renowned political analyst, Ernest Thindwa of the University of Malawi, yesterday said he expected the number of aspirants to decline in the build up to the elections.

“The real competition for the presidential race, in my opinion, would be among MCP, DPP and UTM. The other parties don’t stand a chance. The motivation for the many aspiring candidates in collecting the nomination papers could be the need for publicity and also attracting the attention of other parties that might wish to go for an electoral alliance,” Thindwa said.

Alfandika has assured electoral stakeholders that Mec will keep the updates flowing.

“All presidential candidates, party or independent, are collecting nomination papers from Chief Elections Officer at Mec head office from January 3 to February 8 2019,” Alfandika says.

From the list, only Mutharika, Chakwera, Banda and Muluzi contested in the 2014 general Elections.

Presidential aspirants will submit their nomination papers between February 4 and 8 to Mec secretariat at Comesa Hall. Presidential candidates in Malawi win through a simple majority. Some 6.8 million voters will participate in the elections.

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