The 50% + 1 electoral system will force many political parties to enter into electoral alliances in the forthcoming 2025 General elections. This is so because it seems that it is difficult for a single presidential candidate alone to attain 50% + 1 of the cast votes as required by the Malawi Electoral laws.
In fact, I always refer to 2019 presidential elections because they give us the strength of each individual presidential candidate although they were nullified by the Constitutional Court.
In my view, the results of the 2019 and 2020 presidential elections were statistically and significantly similar.
Without being arithmophobic, let us play with numbers a bit. In 2019 presidential elections, Prof. Peter Mutharika won with 38.57% of the cast votes followed by Dr. Lazarus Chakwera with 34.41% while Dr. Saulos Chilima came third with 20.24%. Atupele Muluzi grabbed the fourth position with 4.67% of the cast votes.
Holding other variables constant, when Lazarus Chakwera formed Tonse Alliance with Saulos Chilima during the 2020 fresh presidential elections, people expected Lazarus Chakwera to amass at least 54.64% of the cast votes.
Malawians also expected the electoral alliance of Peter Mutharika and Atupele Muluzi to get at least 43.24% of the cast votes.
This implies that arithmetically the Tonse Alliance had already a high chance of winning the 2020 fresh presidential elections.
Indeed the results of the 2020 fresh presidential elections showed that Chakwera with Chilima emerged the winner with 59.34% of the cast votes, an increase of +4.69% from the projected votes.
It is well known that Mutharika lost the 2020 fresh presidential elections with 39.92%, a decrease of 3.32% from the projected votes.
These numerical discrepancies from the projected votes were attributed to voter apathy, sympathy votes, Tonse Alliance’s vigorous campaign and DPP’s unpreparedness for the fresh presidential elections.
All this analysis underscores the importance of numbers when choosing an electoral alliance partner.
It is against this background that this article attempts to expound on the possible electoral alliances in the forthcoming general elections.
Firstly, many Malawians are of the view that all political parties must go solo into the forthcoming general elections.
This is so because Tonse Alliance has proved to be a total dupe and flop. Some parties such as UTM, Umodzi Party and Aford feel that the MCP only used them just to ascend to power but they did not benefit much from the alliance.
This is why there are many disgruntled members of the Tonse Alliance such as Bon Kalindo and Dr. Chidanti Malunga who tirelessly fought hard to usher the alliance into government only to be left out in the cold later.
If former President Bingu wa Mutharika managed to attain 50% of the cast votes without any political alliance, what can stop Dr. Lazarus Chakwera or Prof. Peter Mutharika from achieving the same?
After all, if no candidate gets at least 50% + 1 of the cast votes in the first round, there is a provision for the top two presidential candidates to battle it out in the run-off elections.
Secondly, there is another school of thought that the electoral alliances of the 2020 fresh presidential elections be maintained. This implies that the Tonse Alliance must again contest against the DPP-UDF alliance.
However, some quarters recommend that electoral alliance agreements must be legally binding and must strictly conform to the Malawi Constitution. It is expected that this would circumvent alliance partners from breaching alliance pacts.
Thirdly, in an attempt to punish MCP for breaching the Tonse Alliance pact, some disgruntled members are of the view that a grand electoral alliance of DPP, UDF and UTM should be instituted. MCP can therefore partner with other political parties.
Fourthly, since Malawi’s politics is not only about MCP and DPP taking the centre stage, it is therefore possible for UTM to become the third popular party by featuring its own presidential candidate and even forming alliance with other parties such as UDF, Umodzi Party and Aford.
In conclusion, as general elections are drawing close, we expect old electoral alliances to break up while new ones to emerge. In politics, almost everything is possible. This is why there are no foes nor friends in politics.