Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has officially announced that it will launch the official campaign period on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 and the function will be held at Bingu International Convention Centre, Lilongwe.
The launch will be held under the theme “Consolidating Malawi’s Democracy through Peaceful Campaign”.
The commission through Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) will also make a presentation on “Regulation of Handouts during Campaign” hence urging all candidates to attend the event.
A total of 8 candidates, including incumbent president Peter Mutharika, are contesting in the May 21 presidential elections.
Among the key contestants are the incumbent, Mutharika, on the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ticket, main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) with Lazarus Chakwera, and Mutharika’s Vice President Saulos Chilima with his UTM Party.
Mutharika’s cabinet minister Atupele Muluzi (former Malawi president Bakili Muluzi’s son) and leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF), also form other contestants to reckon with among the eight ad former president Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP) have withdrawn from the race and are backing MCP candidate.
Of all presidential candidates, there’s only one independent candidate while the rest are political party leaders, according to MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah.
President Mutharika picked his running mate, Everton Chimulirenji, currently a cabinet minister and DPP’s Director of Campaign.
On the other hand, opposition MCP leader Chakwera his running mate, Sidik Mia, is a known business magnate and politician.
In 2014 polls, 12 candidates vied for the presidency, including opposition MCP leader Chakwera, PP leader and incumbent president then, Joyce Banda, and the now incumbent, Mutharika, on DPP ticket. Mutharika emerged winner, followed by Chakwera and Banda on positions two and three, respectively.