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Survey predicts tight 2019 polls

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

Research by Zomba-based Institute of Public Opinion and Research (IPOR) has found out that if elections were held in August or September, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidates could get 27 percent and 24 percent of votes respectively.

The study shows that United Transformation Movement (UTM) candidate could have been on third place getting 16 percent of votes, followed by the United Democratic Front (UDF) and People’s Party (PP) candidates with 6 percent and 5 percent of votes respectively.

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The study’s objective was to gauge people’s views on the state of their country ahead of May 2019 presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.

The study was also meant to give the Center for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) a clear picture of public perceptions of the political and economic environment in which it is implementing its projects.

The study states that almost 22 percent of the people that were interviewed were undecided voters.

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“Eleven percent ‘refused to answer’ and another 11 percent indicated that they didn’t know who they would vote for,” it reads.

On perceived integrity of the 2019 tripartite elections, over four in every 10 respondents [about 43 percent] hold positive views regarding the likely freeness and fairness of the forthcoming 2019 tripartite elections.

In the survey 48 percent of the respondents said they had trust in Malawi Electoral Commission while 44 percent had no trust at all or just a little trust

On overall direction of the country, 78 percent of respondents said the country is going in the wrong direction while 19 percent are of the view that the country is going in the right direction.

The survey also revealed that 79 percent of Malawians believe that the economic condition of the country as of August 2018 was bad while only 11 percent said it was fairly good.

Most Malawians are not optimistic about the future. Instead, nearly seven in 10 [69 percent] believe that their living conditions will most likely be ‘very bad/ fairly’ bad in 12 months, compared to only 17 percent who are fairly optimistic and expect their living conditions to be fairly good,” reads the report.

The respondents were also asked their views about political parties’ capabilities and integrity to address Malawians’ problems.

MCP came up top with 38 percent followed by UTM with 20 percent, DPP came third with 18 percent while PP and UDF have 8 and 7 percent of people’s trust respectively.

“MCP is clearly ahead of all political parties as perceived as best capable of resolving what most Malawians consider to be the most important national problems—food shortage—followed by UTM and DPP in that order,” it reads.

DPP spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said they have seen the survey report and DPP will capitalize on it and correct concerns that have been highlighted.

“We hear the survey was done in August. We are going to correct the concerns that have been stipulated in the survey. This is a wakeup call,” Dausi said.

Malawi Congress Party, Publicity Secretary, Reverend Maurice Munthali, while saying the party does not want to undermine the credibility of the institution that did the survey, the statistics of the survey have a big margin of error.

“MCP wants to believe such statistics have a very big margin of error because the terrain as of now is that Malawians want change. The only meaningful thing is that nobody with a sane mind could again think of voting DPP,” Munthali said

UTM Publicity Secretary, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, said by virtue of being placed third three months after formation in an indication that they are on the right track and that come the actual time of the voting UTM would win.

“For a party born few days before the survey was being conducted, and being on position three, shows that we are extremely on the right direction. I am optimistic that if another survey was to be done today, we could win the hearts of the undecided voters and could probably be on number one,” Malunga said.

When contacted to comment on the authenticity of the survey, CMD Executive Director KizitoTenthani said he had no immediate comment and said he would be able to comment on the survey on Wednesday.

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