LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) the biggest challenger to President Peter Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has disputed media reports of having discussions for a possible electoral partnership with the former governing People’s Party (PP) and the new party UTM ahead of May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.

MCP publicity secretary the Reverend Maurice Munthali said his party president Lazarus Chakwera—who is also leader of opposition in Parliament— has been having meeting with leaders of PP and UTM, respectively, saying that did not amount to alliance talks.

MCP spokesperson  ruled out Chakwera paving way for another person to be torch bearer of an opposition grand coalition in the 2019 Tripartite Elections, a move he says would be just as “appalling”

“There is nothing on the table in terms of alliance. There is nothing being discussed along the lines.There are no alliance discussion withing the MCP at all.

“Suffice to say that our president is not restricted from talking and intereacting with other party leaders and that should not be taken as party-to-party courtship. An alliance cannot be discussed by the party president but the party machinery,” said Munthali on Times Radio.

But political analysts have reminded opposition parties of a possible coalition could prove a formidable force in the elections if the parties involved do proper ground work.

But MCP spokesman said they have done their ground work and are confident to have the political voter arithmetic to win the next elections.

“We are so confident to remove DPP on our own as MCP and form the next government. Chakwera has the capacity to win and indeed he will win,” he said.

Munthali said MCP was “united and ready to bring change in 2019”.

“The message we are getting from Malawians is that we are the only party that can redeem them from all the agonies they are facing. In that vein, we are very confident that, if we go solo, we would make it,” he added.

MCP president has been trying to broaden the appeal of a party that traditionally relied on the support of Central Region since he replaced John Zenus Ungapake Tembo (JZU).

The MCP has steadily grown and broadened its support base and making in roads in populous Southern Region since it welcomed Sidik Mia, now the party vice president.

Mutharika , 79, will be hoping to win back the support of DPP voters who switched to the UTM aftera breakaway of some of its key members. He is tipped as front runner for a second and final term as per the Constitution.

During the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, President Mutharika—standing on the DPP ticket with Saulos Chilima as his running mate on the ballot paper—won with 1 904 99 votes, representing 36.4 percent while Chakwera polled 27.8 percent, having amassed 1 455 880. Joyce Banda (PP), then an incumbent who had ascended to the presidency in line with constitutional order in April 2012, finished a distant third with 1 056 236 votes or 20.2 percent.

In terms of parliamentary representation, during the 2014 elections DPP won 50 seats, MCP 48, PP 26 and independents 52. Erstwhile governing UDF won 14 seats with Aford and the now-defunct Chipani Cha Pfuko getting one seat each.

But a recent survey conducted by the Zomba-based Institute of Public Opinion and Research (Ipor) between August and September this year has showed that DPP would have a slender edge over MCP if elections were held now while Chilima’s UTM—which was weeks old at the time of the survey—was rated third most popular ahead of next year’s elections.

Respondents to the study gave DPP 33 percent of the vote, MCP 31 percent and UTM 17 percent while PP got six percent rating.

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