Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim has stated that, while he is satisfied with the results of the parliamentary elections, independent candidates affiliated with the governing Progressive Coalition cost the group seats.
Speaking at a press conference held on Sunday (March 23) at the party’s campaign headquarters, Gasim revealed that out of the 28 constituencies in which the JP had contested, leading figures of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) had independently contested in eight.
He stated that the provisional results being announced by various media outlets displayed the losses that this decision has caused the coalition due to vote-splitting between the coalition aligned candidates which led the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to win those seats.
Gasim admitted, however, that members of the JP had also contested in three constituencies in which the PPM was allocated, thereby causing the same loss.
He added that, although both parties had previously announced that they will penalise members who contested independently, neither has taken any such action as yet.
“We saw PPM challenge slots that the coalition had granted to us. And then right after that, Adhaalath Party – who used to work very closely with us – also went out and contested. They said that they will contest in the 28 constituencies that were given to us,” Gasim stated.
The JP leader went on to express hope that the independent candidates who have gotten elected to the parliament would work together with the coalition, stating that they are people “who have had ties with the JP and PPM from before their decision to contest”.
He added that with this alliance he is confident that the government coalition will get a three quarter majority in parliament.
He further said that the results of the parliamentary elections are “proof of the public’s acceptance of the current administration”, and of the rising sense of awareness among the public.
“We must make good use of the opportunity before us. If we try to abuse it, then whether we be government or someone else, no good will come of it,” he continued, stating that upon receiving majority in parliament, the focus should be on serving the citizens.
Gasim further stated that he is “not too keen” on acquiring the position of parliament speaker in the newly elected 18th Parliament.
“I will know for sure only when the time comes. I am not keen on it. I have been given that opportunity even previously,” Gasim stated on the matter.
Criticism against Adhaalath Party
At the press conference, Gasim levied heavy criticism against the religious conservative Adhaalath Party which had backed the JP in the early rounds of the 2013 presidential election.
The Adhaalath Party (AP) contested in 13 constituencies in the parliamentary elections, but managed to win only one seat.
Gasim stated that if the AP had accepted the four slots that the JP had offered them and run from within the coalition, they would have had a better chance at winning seats.
“It would have been better for the Adhaalath Party if they had accepted the four seats we offered them. But then, it’s only when a person dies that the living realise his true value. Some people are only able to appreciate how kind their parents were only after they pass away,” Gasim said.
He added that the decision of the AP’s leadership had caused them “irreparable damage” in this election.
“Imran came at me and demanded we give them 15 percent of seats, and said that if we don’t do so, they will contest in 50 constituencies. He said then we will see how that turns out, that we will see which party is able to win more seats.”
I found his words very unpleasant, it is not the kind of words that a person who maintains such Islamic principles would utter,” Gasim said.
“I responded immediately to his words. I said ‘so this is what it all comes down to. Now we are getting to see the truth. Out of impatience, you are struggling to come out of the womb in whichever way possible’,” he stated.
While the Elections Commission’s official provisional results are pending, local media reports that the JP has won 16 seats and the AP has won one seat out of the total of 85 seats in the 18th parliament.