The Adhaalath Party has today said that it lost many seats it ought to have won in the Majlis elections due to bribery and undue influence from competing candidates.
“We saw it both from the ruling party and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) but we really did not want to buy votes – instead we tried to change the way people think,’’ party Spokesperson Ali Zahir told Minivan News.
After fielding 12 candidates in Saturday’s polls, the religious party saw just a single MP elected to the 18th People’s Majlis – Anara Naeem for Makunudhoo constituency in Haa Dhaal atoll.
“It was really sad that a lot of money transactions were involved in it, it was an obstacle to electing the most capable person to the parliament.’’
Senior members of the MDP have themselves noted the use of similar techniques in Saturday’s poll – pointing the finger at coalition parties – while civil society and international observers have expressed alarm at such practices.
“It wasn’t the best results, or the results we expected,’’ Zahir told Minivan News today. “There are many reasons behind the loss.’’
Zahir said that one of the many reasons was the decision by the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) to give party tickets to candidates to contest in constituencies that Adhaalath had taken.
“It made the people divide their votes which the coalition should have got,’’ he said.
He said that the party had not started discussion on the issue with its, unofficial, coalition partners.
Following Adhaalath’s exclusion from the coalition’s parliamentary election plans, PPM Deputy Leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla told the press that the party was not “an official partner of the Progressive Coalition.”
Adhaalath was excluded from the governing coalition’s seat allocation, which eventually allocated 30 seats to the PPM, seven to the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), and 28 to the Jumhooree Party (JP).
After failed negotiations with the JP in February, JP leader Gasim Ibrahim slammed the Adhaalath Party’s decision to contest in JP-reserved constituencies.
“Their actions are not in the general interest, in the name of Adhaalath (justice) they are doing everything in the wrong way,” said Gasim. “We gave them four seats. They did not accept it.”
Both Gasim and President Abulla Yameen have admitted that vote-splitting detracted from the size of the Progressive Coalition’s margin of victory.
Zahir today said that the workload of the senior party members had prevented the further discussion of the result within the party’s ranks, noting that talks with the government may follow such analysis.
He said that the party believed it had still made progress compared to the 2009 elections result – in which the party won no seats.
“Adhaalath Party is very different from all the other parties that contested in the parliament election – Adhaalath Party is a party that had to start from the bottom,” said Zahir.
“We will not stop our political activities and be silent,’’ he said. “We will compete in all the future elections and work to get better results.’’