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.

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