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United Democratic Front (Malawi)



The United Democratic Front (UDF) is a political party founded in Malawi by Bakili Muluzi (who became the party's chairman) and Bingu wa Mutharika. It is predominantly the party of the southern Malawian Yao.

Bakili Muluzi was president of Malawi from 1994 to 2004, he was succeeded by his hand picked choice, Bingu wa Mutharika after having served the constitutionally allowed two term maximum. Muluzi remained the party's chairman, however, and a rift soon appeared between Muluzi and Mutharika. In February 2005 Mutharika left the party to form the Democratic Progressive Party (DDP). Several leading politicians defected with Mutharika.

In April 2006, Mutharika's Vice-President, Cassim Chilumpha, who represented the UDF, was arrested for treason. Despite being released and charges dropped. Chilumpha challenged Muluzi for the chance to represent the party in the presidential elections of 2009, but lost at the party's convention. When Muluzi stood for president in 2009 he was dismissed only a few day before the voting took place after a constitutional court ruled that he had already served the maximum two terms (Muluzi claimed that the statute only covered consecutive terms). The UDF supported the candidate form the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), John Tembo.

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