MDA takes Kendhikulhudhoo council seat during debut by-election contest

The Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) has claimed a seat on the island council of Kendhikolhudhoo in Noonu Atoll following a two-way by-election contest against the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) yesterday.

According to Elections Commission figures, MDA candidate Ahmed Rizleen won the vacant seat on the island council with a 65 percent share of the vote (450 votes) against his MDP rival Umar Moosa.

Moosa lost out with 242 votes (35 percent).

MDA Leader tourism tycoon MP Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam told local media the party had managed to defeat the country’s largest political party – based on membership and number of MPs – during the first ever election in which it had fielded a candidate. Shiyam, who previously served as an independent MP, formed his party last year.

He was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

MDA candidate Rizleen received 200 votes from the ballot box placed at Kendhi Kolhu Ward, 224 votes from Kulhudhoo ward and 27 votes from the ballot box placed in Male’, Shiyam’s Sun Online news service reported following  he conclusion of the election.

According to the same report, MDP candidate Moosa got 90 votes from Kulhudhoo ward, 124 votes from Kendhikolhu ward and 28 votes from Male’.

Just last month MPs of the government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) – the country’s second largest party in terms of parliament representation – spoke of a need to reassess power sharing agreements over concerns at the size of crowds at recent MDP gatherings.

However, other parties in the coalition government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed today questioned the strength of the opposition party on the basis of the MDA’s single council win.

The government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) led by MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali today congratulated the MDA for its victory in a statement.

In its statement, DRP congratulated MDA candidate Ahmed Rizleen and the MDA leadership for the victory on behalf of DRP leader Thasmeen and members of the DRP.