Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda has withdrawn from the presidential election and endorsed main opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera.
A coalition between the two opposition leaders has the potential to unseat President Peter Mutharika who won Malawi’s 2014 election with 1 904 399 votes compared to the combined 2 512 116 received by Chakwera (1 455 880) and Banda (1 056 236).
Chakwera scored just under 1.5 million votes in that election, which Mutharika won with 1.9 million votes. However, while Banda has been trying to build her party, many still see her as discredited.
The People’s Party (PP) leader announced the electoral alliance with Malawi’s Congress Party in a Facebook post on Friday, March 15.
Malawi’s tripartite elections are scheduled for May 21 and Banda’s withdrawal leaves the number of presidential candidates at eight (8).
Banda served as Malawi’s president from 2012 to 2014, in February she was in a 2-day coalition with Saulos Chilima’s UTM before she pulled on February 4 citing irreconcilable differences.
Joyce Banda press statement on Facebook.
Yesterday I held a meeting with Peoples Party National Executive Committee Members to discuss yet again the view that I have advocated for since I returned home a year ago and that is to say that the opposition needs to unite and work together. I strongly believe that there is strength in unity.
In my acceptance speech at the convention on the 30th of August, 2018, I reiterated that it was important for the People’s Party to get into a coalition with other parties. Iam grateful to God that after a whole mornings discussion we unanimously agreed to my proposal to withdraw my candidature and to endorse Hon Lazarus Chakwera.
Post elections, I will continue with my international work at the nine boards where I serve, international speaking engagements and here in Malawi I will continue my work of 30 years in our rural communities, particularly with those living in abject poverty.
I am grateful for the support I have received from PP party members and the general public finally making this gigantic decision.
May God bless you always.
FORMER STATE PRESIDENT
Press statement by the People’s Party on the electoral alliance