The future of Maldivian politics?


Although the Elections Commission has not yet announced the outcome of the parliamentary elections, the provisional results show the country’s political landscape is set to dramatically change.

The latest results from the commission’s website show the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party to be winning in 30 constituencies and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party to be winning in 25.

It should be noted, however, that these results are dissimilar to those announced by Television Maldives, which gives the DRP 28 seats and the MDP 25 seats.

Either way, neither party achieved the majority which both party leaders were so confident of.

During the campaign season, MDP leader President Mohamed Nasheed seemed positive his party would secure 50 seats while DRP leader and former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, called on his supporters to ensure a win of 60 seats.

But the People’s Alliance is, much to the surprise of many, winning in nine seats, according to the EC, giving the opposition a grand total of 34 seats.

Nevertheless, the overall picture as yet remains unclear as the affiliation of independent candidates is unknown. It is expected for independent candidates, currently winning in 11 constituencies, to pick sides once the election is over. DRP are so confident of this fact, that they declared they would have a simple majority at the end.

The provisional results of the country’s first-ever democratic elections has eliminated several prominent former MPs, including Dhaalu atoll MP Ahmed Nashid, MP Jaufar Easa Adam and former constitutional assembly speaker, Ahmed “Cena” Zahir.

Thaa atoll MP Hassan Afeef, MDP parliamentary leader and the longest serving MP in parliament without a break, is also losing. At the time of going to press, Dhivehi Qaumee Party candidate Riyaz Rasheed was ahead with over 200 votes.

This result will no doubt be pleasing for members of the opposition who worked day and night to ensure his defeat. It will be even more gratifying for those who believe Gayoom lost the presidential elections because of Afeef’s allegations against the ex-president, namely that he embezzled US$40 million of tsunami aid donated by the Qatari Emir.

Another candidate who looks set to exit the political arena is former Male’ MP Ibrahim Ismail (Ibra) who won his seat five years ago with thousands of votes. Winning in his constituency is MDP chairperson and former Kaafu atoll MP Mariya Ahmed Didi. Some say, her choice of constituency and MDP’s campaign efforts were a deliberate attempt to unseat Ibra.

It also looks as if a number of former MPs with reputations for party hopping for their own personal gain will also be voted out. These include Mohamed Ibrahim Didi (Modi), Ibrahim Shaheed Zaki, Mohamed “Senco” Shareef, Abdulla Jabir, Adnaan Haleem and Ibrahim “Mavota” Shareef. We can only hope this will be a lesson for new parliamentarians to stay true to their parties and not work so blatantly for their own benefit.

The results are an obvious success for DRP Vice-president Ahmed Thasmeen whose family has swept up in the elections. While Thasmeen is winning in Kendhoo, his wife Visaam Ali is winning in Maduvaaree, his sister-in-law Rozaina Adam is winning in Thulusdhoo and his half-brother Mohamed Nashiz is winning in Alifushi.

As for female representation in parliament, the number of women winning in constituencies, five so far, is disappointing. Apart from Visaam and Rozaina, MDP candidates Mariya, Ruqiyya Mohamed and Eva Abdulla are also ahead in their constituencies.

But what the provisional results have perhaps most interestingly revealed is that the Maldives is heading towards a two-party state. While DRP and MDP are set to secure most of the seats, a number of parties, including members of the coalition government such as the Adaalath Party, the National Alliance and the Maldives National Congress Party have failed to win even a single one.

So what will this mean for the next five years? Will MDP’s worst fears be realised with a DRP-PA alliance blocking their every move? Will MDP be able to fulfil its five pledges? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Minivan News

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