The Adhaalath Party (AP) announced seven candidates today for constituencies contested by the ruling ‘Progressive Coalition,’ bringing the number of the religious conservative party’s parliamentary candidates to 13 in total.
The candidates announced today were Ali Zahir for the Inguraidhoo constituency, Ibrahim Ahmed for the Madduvari constituency, incumbent MP Ibrahim Muttalib for the Fares-Maathoda constituency, Abdulla Ibrahim for the Kendhikolhudhoo constituency, Hassan Rasheed for the Kudahuvadhoo constituency, and Abdulla Haleem for the Isdhoo constituency.
The party also named the Fiqh Academy Vice President Dr Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef for the Hulhuhenveiru constituency. Dr Iyaz last week sparked controversy as he endorsed the practice of female genital mutilation in an online forum.
AP Spokesperson Ali Zahir said at a press briefing today that the party decided to field candidates for the seven seats as no progress had been made in “unofficial” talks with the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) on the possibility of ceding five constituencies for AP candidates.
While the AP has not given up hope of reaching a compromise with the ruling party, Zahir said the party gave tickets to seven more candidates because the deadline for submitting candidacy papers was two days away.
“When they began primaries yesterday, we felt they no longer intend to go forward with us,” he said, adding however that the PPM had “signalled” an interest in further negotiations.
Zahir noted that the PPM conducted primaries yesterday for all five of the constituency requested by the AP.
While the AP “hopes this number [of candidates] will not become higher [than 13],” Zahir said it was possible that the party’s ticket could be awarded to more candidates in the coming days.
The three parties in the governing ‘Progressive Coalition’ reached an agreement last week to allocate the 85 parliamentary constituencies among the coalition partners, with 49 seats assigned for the PPM, 28 seats for the Jumhooree Party (JP), and eight seats for the Maldives Development Alliance.
Following its exclusion from the coalition’s parliamentary election plans, the AP began discussions separately with the three parties on the possibility of allocating constituencies to its candidates.
However, negotiations with the JP ended unsuccessfully after it refused to cede the Vaikaradhoo and Makunudhoo constituencies as requested by the AP.
Last week, the AP announced that it would be fielding candidates in six constituencies contested by the JP.
In addition to the five candidates announced on Wednesday – Anara Naeem for the Makunudhoo constituency in Haa Dhaal atoll, Aishath Haleela for the Vaikaradhoo constituency, Ahmed Zahir for the Komandoo constituency, Asadhulla Shafie for the Kaashidhoo constituency, and Hisham Ahmed for the Meedhoo constituency in Addu City – the AP later announced that State Minister for Home Affairs Abdulla Mohamed was awarded the party’s ticket for the Nolhivaram constituency.