The Elections Commission (EC) has announced preliminary results of Saturday’s parliamentary elections for 71 of the 85 constituencies.
Acting EC Chair Mohamed Farooq told the press yesterday that the delay in the full announcement had been due to result sheets faxed from across the country being unclear.
Farooq had explained earlier that preliminary results are uploaded to the EC website after double checking the sheets to ensure there were no errors or inconsistencies.
While the results of more than 40 constituencies were announced yesterday, the EC resumed announcing the rest this morning, reaching 71 as of the time of press.
With almost all result sheets checked, the results published on the EC website for the remaining 14 constituencies are unlikely to change.
The EC reopened five ballot boxes in the presence of candidate representatives and the media last night after discovering mismatches in the number of votes received by candidates and the total votes cast.
The recount did not affect the outcome of the polls in any of the five constituencies.
Preliminary results show that of the 85 seats in the People’s Majlis, the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) won 33 seats along with 15 seats and five seats respectively for coalition partners Jumhooree Party (JP) and the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA).
The Progressive Coalition secured a combined total of 53 seats, well above the 43 simple majority required to pass legislation.
Independent candidates won in five constituencies while the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) took one seat.
The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) secured 26 seats, which was the same number of seats it won in the first multi-party parliamentary elections in May 2009.
The main opposition party suffered surprising defeats in traditional strongholds such as the capital Malé, Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo, Haa Alif, and Addu City.
Of the 28 incumbent MPs who failed to retain their seats, 17 were from the MDP, four from the PPM, three from the JP, two independent MPs, one Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party MP and one Adhaalath Party MP.
While 23 female candidates competed in the elections, only five were elected, including three MDP candidates, one PPM candidate and one Adhaalath Party candidate.
In a preliminary statement on the polls, NGO Transparency Maldives noted that the Maldives was “currently ranked 129th place in the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s index of parliaments in terms of gender balance.”
With 189,482 votes cast, the turnout on Saturday was 78.80 percent. The number of eligible voters was 240,652.*
Voter turnout in Male’ was well below the national average. With the exception of Galolhu South at 70 percent, turnout in other constituencies in the capital was below 65 percent.
The lowest turnout was for the Maafanu North constituency at 50 percent.
Obstacles and independents
In the wake of the coalition’s victory at the polls, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb – deputy leader of the PPM – has asserted that that there are now no “obstacles” now for the administration of President Abdulla Yameen to implement the PPM manifesto and fulfil campaign pledges.
“God willing, we will use the trust placed in us by citizens responsibly and work through parliament to give legal power to the [policies] in our manifesto,” he said.
The government’s 207-bill legislative agenda includes amending pension laws, designating special economic zones, and strengthening the legal framework for foreign direct investments.
Adeeb said the government has received congratulations from international partners and foreign investors.
Adeeb also revealed yesterday that some independent candidates have expressed interest in joining the PPM.
While 114 independent candidates contested the Majlis polls, only five were elected. Of the 302 candidates, 188 contested on party tickets.
Following his loss to an independent candidate, JP MP for Lhaviyani Naifaru, Ahmed Mohamed, accused the PPM of attempting to “destroy” its coalition partner.
The veteran MP explained to online news outlet CNM that PPM members contested as independents in constituencies assigned for the JP in the seat allocation deal reached among the coalition parties.
While the independent candidate – Ahmed Shiyam – used the PPM party office, colour and logo in his campaign for the Naifaru seat, Ahmed alleged that the government gave jobs and promotions in the nearby Felivaru fish cannery at his request.
“And if that wasn’t enough, [they] anti-campaigned against me while voting was ongoing,” he claimed.
JP MP for the Hithadhoo South constituency, MP Hassan Latheef, also accused the PPM of campaigning against him after two senior members of the ruling party contested as independents.
Speaking to the press in Hithadhoo yesterday, Latheef reportedly alleged that the PPM members used money to bribe voters and influence within the government to provide jobs.
Latheef also noted that he was not invited to a campaign rally in Hithadhoo last week that was attended by President Yameen. The two independent candidates were however present at the rally, he said.
JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim meanwhile told the press yesterday that the party lost 12 out of the 28 seats it contested for because of coalition party members contesting as independents as well as Adhaalath Party candidates competing in 12 constituencies.
He however added that the winning independent candidates were likely to join coalition parties in the near future.
Along with the five independent MPs-elect and the Adhaalath party MP-elect Anara Naeem, the Progressive Coalition would be six votes short of the super-majority needed to amend the constitution.
*Figures amended upon the release of the Majlis official results – 29.03.14