The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has had further success at the polls after it was reported that former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) member Anwar Abdul Ghany had won the Maafaru Island Council on a Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) ticket, according to local media.
Anwar had previously held the seat for the MDP but vacated it after a public dispute with the party. An amendment to the decentralisation act stipulates that any councillor leaving their party also vacates the seat. This feature of the bill was added on the insistence of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) whose splintering resulted in the formation of the PPM.
Anwar defeated the MDP candidate Mohamed Abdul Ghanee 323 votes to 283, in a constituency of 700, according to Sun Online.
Director General of the Elections Commission Mohamed Tholal said that official confirmation of the result would be made at 3:30pm tomorrow.
He added that the elections had, again, gone smoothly. Suggestions were made by government members that weak institutions such as the Elections Commission made early elections impossible, despite repeated calls from the opposition and the international community to hold new polls to legitimise the new administration.
This result means that, in six polls conducted since the controversial transfer of power in February, the PPM has won two council seats and one parliamentary seat, the MDP has won two council seats, and Jumhoree Party (JP) has won one parliamentary seat.
There have been no significant issues reported in any of the elections, all passing peacefully and without incident. Elections Commissioner Fuad Thaufeeq was confident that any complaints that had been received have been investigated properly.
Looking back over the past six polls, Thaufiq was happy that the commission had performed adequately.
Speaking prior to the Parliamentary elections on April 14, following criticism of the commission from state minister Dunya Maumoon, Thaufeeq expressed confidence that the commission was able to “organise any election mandated by law – whether it is a presidential election, referendum, or by-election.”
The electoral victory is the second success this month for the party of former President Maumoon Gayoom. The party gained its first official seat in the People’s Majlis on April 14th when Ahmed Shareef beat his MDP opposition in the Thimirafushi parliamentary by-election.
This prompted the government to claim that the success of its supporting parties ought to be interpreted as a mandate for the completion of the current presidential term into 2013.
The MDP, which has now lost four of the six seats it has contested in local elections since March, interpreted these polls differently, seeing them as proof that the country is ready for national presidential elections.
Previously, the party’s supporters in the Majlis were officially classed as independents with the party only having been formed in October 2011. The PPM also won a seat on the Thaa Gaadhifushi council in a poll taken on the same day as the parliamentary votes.