Category Archives: The Maldives

The Maldives – Parliamentary election

The Maldives held parliamentary elections on Saturday. These were ‘honeymoon’ elections in that they followed relatively closely after the presidential election that was finally finished on 16 November. At the presidential election, Abdulla Yameen was victorious. He represents the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

The final results have not yet been confirmed, but reliable results seem to be available here. They show the following:

  • Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) – 34 seats
  • Jumhoory Party (JP) – 16 seats
  • Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) – 5 seats
  • Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) – 24 seats
  • Independents – 5 seats
  • Adhaalath Party (AP) – 1 seat

President Yameen’s PPM party should be able to rely on the support of its coalition partners, the Jumhoory Party (JP) and the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA). This would give the president the support of at least 55 seats in the 85-seat legislature. The opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) gained only 24 seats.

The PPM, JP and MDA had previously agreed to distribute candidates in the different single-member constituencies so as to maximise the chances of defeating the MDP. So, even though members of parliament do cross the floor, the likelihood is that the result of the election should provide President Yameen with a strong working majority. That said, the Jumhoory Party (JP) was involved in a last-ditch attempt to delay the election. Moreover, independent PPM candidates stood in some constituencies reserved for the JP and vice versa. So, there are tensions within the coalition.

The Islamist Adhaalath Party (AP) had supported President Yameen in the second ballot of last year’s election, but has since broken with the President and the PPM party.

International observers have welcomed aspects of the election, but have also expressed concerns about other elements. In the days before the election, the Supreme Court dismissed members of the Electoral Commission, putting itself in opposition to the parliament. In addition, there are reports of vote buying. There are also problems of political communication and voter eligibility.

Maldives – Presidential election first round re-reun

Maldives held the re-run of its first-round presidential election vote on 9 November. The first vote, which was held in early September, was annulled in controversial circumstances. This was the second attempt to re-run the election, the first having been postponed the previous weekend on the day of the ballot itself.

In the first vote in September the top two candidates were Mohamed Nasheed, who was elected in 2008 but who was ousted in February 2012, and Abdulla Yameen, a relative of former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was in office prior to Mohamed Nasheed. In the September vote Nasheed won 45.5% and Yammen won 25.4%, just ahead of the third-placed candidate, Qasim Ibrahim.

In the re-run this weekend, the Government is reporting the following result:

  • Mohamed Nasheed – 46.9%
  • Abdulla Yameen – 29.7%
  • Qasim Ibrahim – 23.3%

So, as in September, there will be a second round between Nasheed and Yameen.

However, as we already know, one vote does not an election make. The aftermath of the re-run has been difficult.

When should the second round of the election be held? The term of President Waheed, who came to power in February 2012 and won only 5% of the vote in the September election, was due to expire on 11 November. Previously, he had declared that he would not stay in office a single day beyond this date. However, he did not step down on 11 November, even though his Vice President did. This is despite the fact that Parliament had voted an interim president.

There were reports that in order to head off the potential for legal chaos, the second round of the presidential election would be held on 11 November, just two days after the first ballot. Then, the Supreme Court ruled that the election would take place on 16 November. However, the ruling lacked the signature of any of the judges.

Overnight, President Waheed has announced that he will remain in office until 16 November and that the election will take place then. He is certainly under intense pressure from the international community to step down.

A week is a long time in politics and this coming week will definitely feel like a long time for politics in the Maldives.

The Maldives – Presidential election cancelled

The re-run of September’s presidential election in The Maldives was cancelled at the weekend.

The election has a troubled history. In 2008 Mohamed Nasheed was elected president in a poll that led Freedom House to classify the country as en Electoral Democracy. However, in February 2012 he resigned following opposition protests and amid claims that he was forced to stand down in a de facto coup. His Vice-President, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, assumed the presidency.

Presidential elections were organised for September 2013. Former president, Mohamed Nasheed, topped the poll with 45.5% of the vote. Abdulla Yameen of the Progressive Party of Maldives came second. Vice-President Mohammed Waheed gained only 5% of the vote.

However, the second-round run-off was then cancelled by the Supreme Court. Instead, the first round was ordered to be run again on 19 October. The same candidates were standing again. On Saturday morning, amid controversy over electoral registration among other things, the re-run of the first was cancelled just before it was due to start. The police stepped in and prevented the poll from going ahead.

There is pressure from international organisations to hold the poll. Yesterday, the Electoral Commission is stating that the first round re-run will take place on 9 November.