DPP, UDF to hold primaries in all 193 constituencies

Malawi’s opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) will hold primary elections in all the 193 constituencies to identify a new set of candidates for the 2014 tripartite elections.

The two former ruling parties say the primaries will even be conducted in the constituencies held by their respective leaders- Prof Peter Mutharika and Atupele Muluzi respectively.

The development effectively puts to rest fears that the two parties would block its aspiring party members to compete with sitting legislators ahead of the polls.

DPP Publicity Secretary, Nicholas Dausi, said all the 193 constituencies including that of Thyolo East whose incumbent is party President Peter Mutharika will be up for grabs.

Peter Mutharika: DPP leader will also go through primaries in his constituency

Peter Mutharika: DPP leader will also go through primaries in his constituency

Dausi said the issue of the primaries was raised during a caucus meeting held in Lilongwe ahead of the current meeting of Parliament where the party finally made a resolution on the matter.

His counterpart Ken Ndanga from the UDF also confirmed the party will open for primary elections all the 193 constituencies as one way of upholding its democratic principles.

“No constituency will be exempted from primaries, people have to exercise their powers to vote and field who they want to represent them,” Ndanga told Nyasa Times.

UDF described primary elections as the only forum through which the party can identify candidates to represent it party in 2014 tripartite elections.

Suggestions to skip primary elections in constituencies with incumbent members of parliament (MPs) reportedly created divisions in the parties with some die hard follows accusing their leaders of being undemocratic.

Until a few days ago, reports were rife that some senior members have proposed that in constituencies where the party has sitting MPs, no primary elections should be held to appreciate the incumbents’ loyalty to the party.

Tens of MPs for the DPP dumped the party soon after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika in April 2012 to join now the ruling People’s Party (PP) whose leader Joyce Banda, then Mutharika’s estranged vice-president, took over the mantle in line with constitutional order.

Similarly, scores of MPs also dumped the UDF after Mutharika formed his own DPP in January 2005.

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