JB wins opinion poll, Malawians want Sec 65 – Afrobarometer

An Afrobarometer opinion poll released Tuesday has revealed that President Mrs Joyce Banda could win the elections and that her People’s Party (PP) is enjoying popular support across the nation.

Afrobarometer is a comparative series of public opinion surveys that measures public attitudes towards democracy, the economy, governance, leadership, identity and other related issues.

According to lead investigators in Malawi, Joseph Chunga from University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, who presented their findings on Tuesday in Lilongwe, the survey was carried out in June and sampled a total of 2,400 respondents, giving it a margin of error of +/-2% at the 95% confidence interval.

President Joyce Banda: Her PP enjoying support but Malawians wants Section 65 to be applied

Afrobarometer said three in five Malawians said they are close to a political party; a decline of 21% between 1999 and 2012.

The results showed that slightly under half – 46 percent – of likely voters would have voted for PP presidential candidate “if elections were held mid 2012.”

It was also revealed that PP was “the most supported party” followed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

“The PP is now the most supported party, but with only 27% of Malawians claiming its membership. The DPP is second with 16%, followed by UDF and MCP with 9 and 4% support respectively,” the survey results revealed.

Electorate trust

The survey results say, “in terms of trust in institutions, 6 in 10 Malawians trust the ruling party while 46% trust the opposition.”

The survey also noted some interesting patterns in terms of party support by region.

“The PP enjoys the highest share of support in the Northern and central regions. The DPP is still marginally ahead in the Southern region.”

PP spokesman Hophmally Makande said t he Afrobarometer report was “a fair assessment of the situation on the ground.”

While other political parties said they need to study the findings.

Section 65

Afrobarometer also sought views from Malawians on Section 65 of the Constitution, which prohibits defections by Members of Parliament without seeking fresh electoral mandate, saying many wanted it to be applied.

The survey revealed  that 3 in 4 Malawians say MPs should seek fresh mandate if they leave their parties. This is regardless of party affiliations of the respondents .

“There is widespread view among Malawians that MPs that cross the floor should be required to seek re-election,” the survey noted.

According to the survey results,  respondents selected from across the country  want MPs who switch parties must first seek a new electoral mandate.

Danwood Chirwa, professor of law at the University of Cape Town is on record saying defections encourage “politics of the stomach,” while at the same time undermining the accountability of the executive.

Meanwhile, the Malawi team of the Afrobarometer will be making the next set of presentations towards the end of September in Blantyre.

Tweeting

Afrobarometer has recently launched a twitter account: @afrobarometer

Afrobarometer is an independent, non partisan social science research project organised as an African led International collaboration.

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