Coalition parties’ Majlis selections continue amid internal criticism

The Jumhooree Party has assigned tickets for all 28 constituencies in which it will contest the upcoming People’s Majlis elections.

After giving tickets for eight sitting MPs and the former Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz last week, the party yesterday announced the candidates selected for the remaining 19 seats.

The JP’s procedure in selecting candidates involves applicants being reviewed by a special committee formed by the party council, which grades them through a set of publicly announced criteria. Applicants with most points receive the ticket – in the case of a draw, the party will reach an agreement through dialogue, with a primary race only becoming necessary should these methods fail to find an acceptable candidate.

The selection of sitting MPs and Riyaz, however, came without a public call for candidates, and were subsequently criticised by party council member Fuad Gasim – particularly as most of these members joined the party very recently.

“I believe a lot of people worked very hard for the country, democracy, and the party during the recent presidential elections. Even if they are MPs I cannot accept them – not being part of that work and now coming to us for tickets when the government changed,” said Fuad.

Meanwhile, the PPM primaries scheduled for tomorrow have been delayed indefinitely. A party official stated that the delay was due to certain decisions that have to be made by the party council.

The party council will screen all 150 candidates applying for the party’s 49 allocated constituencies through a set of criteria before primaries are held.

PPM Secretary General Mohamed Zuhair told local media that these deliberations include making a decision on handing over party tickets to sitting MPs without a primary.

The party’s procedure for selecting candidates have also been subjected to criticism from party members, with supporters in Laamu atoll demonstrating in support of a primary. The protesters accused PPM leadership of planning to give the Maavah constituency to the incumbent MP Abdul Azeez Jamal Abu Bakr without a primary.

PPM member Simad Adam said that an estimated 240 people were protesting against handing over the ticket to Jamal “on a tray” because of his close ties with President Abdullah Yameen: “The party’s constitution says primaries must be held. There are others who want to contest the seat. We are just asking for a primary.”

Through a deal made within the governing coalition, the PPM will be contesting for 49 seats, the JP for 28 seats, and 8 seats have been reserved for the Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA).

Among the eight, the MDA reserved two for sitting MP s – party leader and Dhaalu Meedhoo MP Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam, and Dhaalu Kudahuvadhoo MP Ahmed Amir. Tickets for two seats were won without a primary as only single candidates applied.

Primaries for a further two seats were held on 30 January, though after discovering issues with voter lists, the party will be repeat the primary for Manadhoo constituency tomorrow.

The MDA decided not to contest for Gahdhoo seat, for which the incumbent MP Zahir Adam will contest independently.


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