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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February, 2005, 23:15 GMT
Malawi president forms new party
Bingu wa Mutharika
President Mutharika accused UDF members of plotting against him
The President of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika, has launched a new political party in an attempt to secure a majority in parliament.

He told the BBC that the new grouping would be called the Democratic Progressive Party.

Mr Mutharika left the governing United Democratic Front (UDF) last week after a power struggle with its chairman, former President Bakili Muluzi.

The political fallout has seen five cabinet ministers resign from the UDF.

Mr Mutharika has been conducting an anti-corruption campaign which his supporters say has made him many enemies in the government and within his old party.

No surprise

The cabinet, 23 independent MPs and a number of veteran politicians, including Gwanda Chakuamba and Aleke Banda have sided with the president.

Bakili Muluzi
Muluzi denies there is a rift between himself and the president
Mr Mutharika announced his resignation from the UDF on Saturday.

The day before, he had sacked three cabinet ministers widely seen as allies of Mr Muluzi, his political rival and former mentor.

Mr Muluzi told the BBC he had never tried to undermine his successor, and insisted he had no desire to run the country from behind the scenes.

He also denied suggestions that he had opposed moves to tackle corruption.

Analysts say Mr Mutharika's exit from the UDF did not come as a great surprise as the party had come close to expelling him last month.




SEE ALSO:
Malawi 'death plot' group freed
07 Jan 05 |  Africa
Profile: Bingu wa Mutharika
23 May 04 |  Africa
Country profile: Malawi
09 Nov 04 |  Country profiles


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