Former DRP councillor wins Filladhoo council by-election on MDP ticket

Dismissed Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) councillor for Haa Alif Filladhoo, Adam Inaz, regained his seat on a ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) ticket in Saturday’s by-election.

Inaz was dismissed from his post after being expelled from the DRP for voting against the party line in a no-confidence motion against DRP councillor Mohamed Vijan, chair of the Filladhoo island council.

An opposition-sponsored second amendment to the Decentralisation Act passed in December 2010 stipulates that councillors elected on a party ticket must remain a member of the party or be stripped of the seat.

According to provisional results announced by the Elections Commission (EC) last night, Inaz received 331 votes (55.7 percent) to DRP candidate Mohamed Jameel’s 263 votes (44.3 percent). Of 674 eligible voters, 598 cast their ballots.

Saturday’s win secures a majority of the five-member council to the ruling party, which also won by-elections last week for two Shaviyani Milandhoo constituency atoll council seats and one Alif Alif Mathiveri island council seat.

On November 19, MDP won by-elections for a Faafu Bilehdhoo atoll council seat and Alif Alif Himandhoo island council seat while a Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) member won the mid-Fuvahmulah atoll council seat.

Popular mandate

MDP meanwhile celebrated the victory last night with short-eats and the traditional rice pudding at its Haruge headquarters, where President Mohamed Nasheed attended and addressed supporters.

Elections in a democratic system reveal the extent of public approval of the government and its policies, Nasheed said.

In the first multi-party elections of the past four years, Nasheed noted, MDP’s share of the vote in Filladhoo rose from 20 percent in the first round of the presidential election of October 2008 to 46 percent in the local council elections of February 2011.

The MDP candidate for the Kelaa constituency which includes Filladhoo lost by 20 votes in the 2009 parliamentary elections, he continued, of which MDP won 31 percent of the popular vote.

Nasheed went on to lay out the MDP’s election returns in detail: 44,293 votes in the first round in 2008 (25 percent); 51,176 votes in 2009 (31 percent); and 61,661 in 2011 (44 percent).

“In my view, we now have a comfortable majority, a very good majority in a democracy -that is we are now [governing] with the consent of above 55 percent to our party, our government and our policies,” he claimed.

President Nasheed also referred to a protest by a group of Filladhoo islanders during his visit on December 24.

The protest leader addressed the President’s delegation with a megaphone “from the time we arrived till we went to the office,” Nasheed recounted, adding that he was “very pleased after seeing that as it’s been a while since I’ve seen a megaphone.”

While the incident was reported in local media, Nasheed argued that that “the people’s decision” was not “based on news headlines”.

“Two TV stations and two or three newspapers are constantly, relentlessly, criticising the government,” he said. “And sometimes the criticism goes beyond bounds.”

However, he contended, “the receptiveness of the message” on opposition-aligned media is diminished due to glaring contradictions “between what you can see for yourself and what you hear on TV.”


3 thoughts on “Former DRP councillor wins Filladhoo council by-election on MDP ticket”

  1. Congratulations MDP.

    However, the comment about the media seems a bit whiney. Advanced democracies such as in the US and the UK face similar issues with media bias.

    I fear RaajjeTV fails to do its job as a government-mouthpiece for a local audience. With better investment and focus on human resource RaajjeTV could solve a lot of problems for the Nasheed administration's lack of media coverage.

    However, President Nasheed has Minivan to celebrate. Most foreign news articles source Minivan instead of reaching out to English-language services of other more established onlines. So the international media surely gets a daily dose of glaring contradictions now and then as well.

    I never thought I would see in my lifetime the type of vicious spin used to first distort the numbers at the opposition rally in December last year and then later to pin the blame for the Nasheed administration's dangerous poker game with the tourism industry on the opposition as well.

    But that's media for you. The opposition should try and focus on developing their own English-language news-wire and reach out to journalists, embassies and politicians across the globe to get them some amount of coverage.

  2. Well I am a political science graduate from the best Washington University. Have been reading a bit about Maldives events and got some Maldivian friends to give their input on it.

    I have to say that the MDP party in Maldives seem to have a lot of pride in themselves, eventhough they do not control the Parliament with a majority. Hence just like in our Congress, the Republicans used to always try and buy democrat politicians when it came to important Bills which Bush needed to pass to fight his personal war on terrorism. All this, while the majority of Americans saw their economies being robbed by corrupt rich politicians connected to big banks.

    Wonder if this is the same in Maldives? Most likely from what I observed and read. Maldivians are still new to democracy, so its easy to trick the supporters of MDP to vote when it comes to local elections. This big challenge for MDP will be the Presidential election where they would be easily defeated if the opposition parties came together as a coalition.

    There is no debate on the above matter because politics is like a stack of card. Any government in power that claims to have majority support due to a few local elections in certain regions - is obviously in danger of losing power in the long run.

    However, yes using the Media can be a powerful tool in getting more votes by creating false allegations against political opponents. This is what the Republicans did against the Democrats using their powerful Fox News and other conservative led News outlets. Nevertheless, it backfired and Obama was elected. He has not been the perfect President for all Americans, but he is better than Bush who clearly liked playing political games with the life of Americans.. similar to what your Maldivian President seem to be doing.

    Anyways.. good luck to Maldivians in electing a government that really represents the majority. It is a long and hard road. We took hundreds of years.


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