Opposition ponder mergers for 2016


SEVERAL opposition political parties say they will seek mergers or support candidates of other parties in next year’s presidential election to ensure the winner gets a 50-percent-plus-one-vote threshold required to get into State House.
Some, however, say they will still give it a shot although they know that the Patriotic Front (PF) candidate Edgar Lungu is a clear favourite.
People’s Party (PP) president Mike Mulongoti said in an interview that political parties need to work together ahead of next year’s elections.
He said his party will choose a preferred presidential candidate and political party it will support in the 2016 polls.
Forum for Democratic Alternatives President Ludwig Sondashi said he will not contest the election but choose one formidable and relevant party to support.
“It is not good for all political parties to contest the 2016 elections, especially after the adoption of the 50-percent-plus-one-vote clause,” Dr Sondashi said.
Christian Democratic Party president Dan Pule said the possibility of political parties merging ahead of next year’s elections cannot be ruled out because of the passing of the 50-percent-plus-one-vote threshold.
“The 50-percent-plus-one-vote has brought a challenge to all of us as politicians. We can’t rule out the possibility of merging or supporting one preferred candidate ahead of the polls,” he said.
Dr Pule said his party will have to make a decision on whether to support a preferred candidate or contest the general elections.
He also supports the running mate clause and dual citizenship clause, which he described as progressive.
Dr Pule said the running mate clause has worked well in countries like Nigeria and Malawi.
Zambians for Empowerment and Development president Fred Mtesa said it is possible for a well organised political party to have its candidate win the election under the new law.
Dr Mtesa said it was, however, too early for his party to state its position on whether it would support a particular candidate or contest elections.
National Revolution Party president Cosmo Mumba said he would contest next year’s presidential election.
Dr Mumba said he knew President Lungu would win the election but he (Mumba) will still contest.
Green Party president Peter Sinkamba said he would contest the election.
UNIP president Tilyenji Kaunda and Alliance for Development and Democracy president Charles Milupi said they would state their positions later.