Malawi Congress Party

Published 5th June, 2014

The Malawi Congress Party or MCP was founded in 1959 by Hastings Banda and is the successor to the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC).

With independence the MCP came into its own and in the 1961 election it won 22 of the 28 seats in the Legislative Council of Nyasaland. Hastings Banda became Prime Minister on 1st February 1963 and in 1964 the MCP won again with 50 of the 53 seats in the Legislative Council. Ten weeks after the election, on 6th July 1963 Malawi became an independent state. The next year was turbulent politically with the autocratic Banda falling out with many of his Minister.

By 1966 a new constitution was introduced, Banda became Malawi’s first President and one party rule was introduced. The MCP was to remain the sole political party until the restoration of multi-party democracy in 1993.

In 1994 Hastings Banda came second in the Presidential election with 33.44% of the vote, losing to Bakili Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF). In the National Congress election the MCP won 56 of the 177 seats and emerged the second largest party but was out of government.

In 1999 the MCP did better, taking 66 seats but in an enlarged National Congress of 192 seats; again they lost to the UDF. In 2004 the MCP emerged once more as the largest party with 57 of the 187 seats but Bingu wa Mutharika of the UDF won the general election.

Bingu wa Mutharika went on to form the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which swept the board in 2009, taking 114 of the 193 seats, leaving the MCP with just 26 seats.

In a more fractured election in 2014 the MCP was back in second place with 48 of the 192 seats and just two seats behind the DPP in a hung parliament.

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