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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Malawi finally gets new cabinet
Bingu wa Mutharika
Mutharika is still not certain of a parliamentary majority
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has named a new cabinet almost a month after winning disputed elections.

Opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba, who shocked many by backing Mr Mutharika after earlier challenging his election in court, was not given a post.

But three of his Republican Party colleagues were given ministerial jobs.

Mr Mutharika's UDF party failed to win a majority in parliament and he has been struggling to put a stable coalition government together.

It is still unclear whether the new cabinet will have the backing of more than 50% of MPs.

Goodall Gondwe, former IMF director for Africa and an economic adviser to former president Bakili Muluzi, was named finance minister.

Key independents

Mr Chakuamba had previously said that he did not want to be in government.

Bingu wa Mutharika, UDF: 35%
John Tempo, MCP: 27%
Gwanda Chakuamba, Mgwirizano coalition: 26%
MCP: 59 seats
UDF: 49 seats
Mgwirizano: 27 seats
Independents: 38 seats
Others: 14
By-elections needed in 6 seats
Turnout: 52%
Source: Malawi Election Commission

With 16 MPs from Mr Chakuamba's Republican Party and three from the Movement for Genuine Democratic Change, which also backed Mr Mutharika, 74 MPs support the president in the 193-seat parliament.

Many of the 39 independent MPs, who left Mr Mutharika's United Democratic Front, are expected to rejoin, to hand the president a majority.

The former ruling Malawi Congress Party is challenging the election results in court.

Election observers said there had been "serious shortcomings" in the polling.

Several people died in two days of violent protests in the commercial capital, Blantyre, after the results were announced.

John Tembo on BBC Network Africa
"The rest of us will remain in opposition"


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