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The ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) yesterday elected a former detainee, Gwanda Chakuamba, as President Kamuzu Banda's virtual successor, naming him deputy to the country's supreme ruler of 30 years, Reuter reports from Blantyre. The MCP, facing a stern opposition challenge in Malawi's first democratic elections due in May, voted unanimously at emergency talks for Mr Chakuamba to become vice- presidential candidate, leaving an ailing Dr Banda to take charge of the country - if only nominally - until the polls.