Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Deputy Leader Dr Abdullah Mausoom has claimed that his party can offer an alternative to what he calls the divisive and personality-based politics offered by its major rivals.
Prominent party members including Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and Speaker of the People’s Majlis Abdulla Shahid have been in Addu Atoll this weekend to participate in a rally scheduled for this evening. The party will also be conducting door to door campaigning during its visit.
The event will coincide with the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) own rally in the country’s southernmost atoll that is being conducted as part of its ‘Journey of Pledges’ campaign trip.
Mausoom said that the timing of the event was a coincidence, with the date for the occasion chosen by local party members.
The DRP is currently the second largest in the country by membership, and the third largest by representation in the People’s Majlis – with 26,900 members and 13 MPs.
The MDP remains the country’s largest party, with 48,503 members and 30 MPs. The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has 17,489 members and 17 MPs.
Despite suffering a slight decline in members in recent months as well as some defections to other parties within the Majlis, Mausoom claimed that the drop had not been as severe as expected and that the DRP still remained more settled than either the MDP or the PPM.
The DRP was the second political party to be registered officially in the Maldives after the MDP following democratic reforms introduced at the end of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s thirty year rule. Gayoom founded the DRP before internal divisions last year resulted in the creation of the PPM.
However, Mausoom believed that many people associated the PPM – now led by Gayoom – as a symbol of the past, whilst simultaneously feeling let down by the MDP who “over promised and under delivered”.
Mausoom said that the DRP was accused both of being a wing of the PPM as well as being on the verge of forming a coalition with the MDP.
“We are the only party taking the aspirations of the people seriously,” he contended.
Dr Mausoom said that the DRP had people with expertise and technical skills who had previously worked within both the governments of Former Presidents Gayoom and Nasheed.
He argued that the downfall of the MDP could be traced to the designation of jobs to its former activists regardless of skill.
“There is a strong culture of personality politics in the Maldives,” added Mausoom. “But Maldivian people are more politically educated than before.”
He described DRP Leader Thasmeen as a “true democrat”, who delegates responsibility throughout the party.
“While the MDP and the PPM are involved in jealous personal fights, the DRP is continuing to work as a responsible political party,” Mausoom added.