BLANTYRE (AFP) — Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika -- who is
leading a minority government -- has been endorsed as his party's
candidate in next year's presidential elections, a party official said
"The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has
unanimously resolved to present to the Malawi electorate Dr Bingu wa
Mutharika as the party's candidate for the presidential race of May 19,
2009," Hetherwick Ntaba -- the party's secretary general -- told AFP.
The presidential poll is being held simultaneously with legislative elections.
Ntaba, who was a top aide to late dictator Kamuzu Banda, said Mutharika's nomination was unopposed.
said the decision to endorse Mutharika was taken by the party's
national governing council at its weekend meeting. The party is
scheduled to hold a convention later this year.
by political analysts to win the race, will run against his arch-rival,
former president Bakili Muluzi, and key opposition figure John Tembo of
the Malawi Congress Party.
Mutharika, 76, turned against his
one-time mentor by ditching Muluzi's United Democratic Front to form
his own party soon after the 2004 elections.
Muluzi had ruled
this impoverished southern African nation from 1994 to 2004, after
wrestling power from Banda in the country's first democratic elections.
reluctantly handed over power to Mutharika, after failing to change the
constitution to allow him stand for a third consecutive term.