Malawi former ruling party the United Democratic Front (UDF) is adamant that it will still field a presidential candidate in 2014 despite the uncertainties that follow the appointment of its strongest hopeful Atupele Austin Muluzi into President Joyce Banda’s cabinet.
The UDF is also in a working relationship with Banda’s PP with the party now operating on the government side in Parliament.
However party Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala, who is a Muluzi sympathiser within the party, assured party followers that the UDF would have a presidential candidate in 2014.
He could not immediately say who is being earmarked to lead the party or on whether Muluzi will still be in a position to represent UDF when he is a cabinet minister in Banda’s administration, a
position many feel weakens his bid to the presidency.
“If he is interested it would be possible for him to contest. All he needs to do is to come out and express his interest,” said Makwangwala.
The UDF is expected to hold its convention this year when among several issues it is expected to elect its leader while if it will indeed have a candidate in 2014 it will elect its presidential
candidate in another convention to be held in 2013.
That is going by its convention which requires that a candidate be elected at least a year before going to the polls.
Young Muluzi could not immediately say whether he would contest in 2014.
“I am serving the PP government and my focus now is to help the president to solve the country’s economic challenges,” he said.
This year’s convention according to Makwangwala is expected to review the age of the presidential candidate from 35 to 34, a move which is being deemed as an attempt to accommodate the young Muluzi who will be turning 34 next year.
“We want our constitution to be in conformity with the Republican Constitution on age. The Constitution says for one to stand as a presidential candidate the age must be 35 which means a UDF candidate can only contest at the age of 36 because a candidate is elected a year before national elections,” said Makwangwala when justifying the review.
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