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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05LILONGWE49
2005-01-18 16:14:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Lilongwe
Cable title:  

RULING PARTY GAINS IN BY-ELECTIONS

Tags:   PGOV  KDEM  MI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS LILONGWE 000049 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM MI
SUBJECT: RULING PARTY GAINS IN BY-ELECTIONS




1. Official results released by the Malawi Electoral
Commission (MEC) on Thursday indicate that the eight By-
Elections held on Tuesday January 12 resulted in a gain
of six Parliamentary seats for the governing United
Democratic Front (UDF) and its allies. The UDF picked
up two seats, while two Independents likely to align
with the UDF were also elected. The Republican Party and
Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) picked up a seat each.
The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) managed to
win the remaining seats.



2. Despite the government's overall success, President
Mutharika failed to get his favored candidate elected in
his home district, where a candidate aligned with UDF
National Chairman Bakili Muluzi was elected on an
independent ticket. The UDF also failed to get its
candidate elected to the seat won in 2004 by Vice
President Chilumpha (who is unable to hold the position
concurrently as Vice President), which the Malawi
Congress Party won.



3. The MEC Chairwoman, Justice Anastazia Msosa, who
declared the exercise free and fair, reported voter turn
out as 33.12%. She attributed this to seasonality,
noting that people are currently focused on farming.
However, she said MEC would work to find out why so few
showed up to vote. The MEC will release a report on the
by-elections later in the year.



4. COMMENT. The results of this election are a major
gain for the UDF as a party, but it is unclear what
impact they will have on governance. In light of the
ever-widening rift between party and government,
increased UDF representation could, depending on which
side the new Parliamentarians ally themselves, mean
increased support for the president and his initiatives.
Conversely, it could bring the Muluzi-Mutharika power
struggle to the floor of Parliament. END COMMENT.

GILMOUR