Majlis elections: Undue influence, bribery, and disilussionment led to losses, says MDP

Senior members of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have said that bribery and people losing faith in elections may have been responsible for the party’s loss in yesterday’s election.

While the preliminary results are to be announced by the Elections Commission (EC) tonight, results reported by the media indicate that the MDP have won less than 30 percent of seats (22 – 25 seats) while the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has taken approximately 39 percent of the seats (33 seats).

Along with the seats of the PPM’s coalition partners – including Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Party (JP), who reportedly won 14 seats – President Abdulla Yameen’s government appears to have won the approximately 65 percent of the seats in the People’s Majlis.

MDP Chairperson MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik and MDP parliamentary group leader MP Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Solih  – both of whom reclaimed their seats yesterday – expressed discontentment over the party’s overall performance.

“There are a number of constituencies from which the results we got really surprised the MDP. This includes Gaafu Alif, Gaafu Dhaalu and Haa Alif atolls. The results we got from these areas are not the ones we expected or hoped for,” said Hinnavaru member Ibu.

He noted that the party was not satisfied with the results in Malé City, and that while Addu City’s results were largely as expected by the party, losing MP Ilyas Labeeb’s seat was a surprise.

Meanwhile Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail – who lost in yesterday’s Machangolhi Dhekunu poll – said that the results did not surprise him as much.

“I believe the election is a farce – while there was a free vote, it was not a fair vote. Government influences were used, voters were threatened, and people were bribed openly –  I noticed this particularly in my constituency.” He said.

Ibra led the drafting of the 2008 democratic constitution in the the constitutional assembly and later served as an advisor to President Mohamed Nasheed.

When the party seemed divided over participating in the election after the Supreme Court sentenced the independent EC members, Ibra revealed that he had supported a boycott just as had former President Nasheed.

“I said at the [MDP] national council meeting as well, it is meaningless to hold an election without addressing those issues. I supported an election boycott until the playing field was leveled. Without it the people’s will cannot be expressed,” said Ibra, stating that he had predicted a low number of seats even at that time.

Undue influence and democratic disillusion

Ibra’s concerns regarding bribery and undue influence by the government and businessmen was echoed by other MPs, with Moosa describing this influence as “huge”.

“In some islands we lost with very small difference because people’s jobs were threatened by businessmen who have influence over them. People were afraid. The government also used their powers and influence,” said the MP for Hulhu Henveiru.

Local NGO Transparency Maldives has today said that “issues of money politics threatens to hijack [the] democratic process” in the Maldives.

While this was a major issue of concern among all parties, parliamentary group leader Ibu also observed that “there are constituencies where the candidates have not put in as much effort as they should have.”

‘Ibra’ Ismail stated that the low turn out could have affected the number of seats won by the MDP, as it is likely that many pro-MDP people did not take part in the election.

While no official voter turnout has yet been announced, the EC has noted that it was very low. Some estimates put turnout as low as 65 percent compared to over 88 percent during the last presidential elections.

“It is too soon to comment [as to why MDP didn’t win the election] – we can only conjecture and surmise at this point, but if look into Malé, it was very obvious that the voter turnout was very low.”

“I believe a lot of MDP supporters and people who have similar thinking did not come out and vote this time. Because many of them believed that it was meaningless, that the government will keep changing the results until they get what they want,” said Ibra.

Ibu Solih, meanwhile, noted that the Supreme Court’s influence in the election also had a great impact on the turnout.

“One thing that we noticed is that following the Supreme Court cases, there was a lot of doubt whether or not the election will be held on the date. This contributed to the low turn out as people had been confused, and failed to re-register,” he said.

Chairperson Moosa said that people were “tired and exhausted” after three elections and “fighting the coup”, noting that this has also led to financial issues within the party.

The road ahead

Ibra described the party’s loss yesterday as a “huge set back for the democracy movement”.

“I think with these results, the constitution which protects minority rights and fundamental liberties will be suspended. It will be put on the shelf.”

“With tyranny of the judiciary combined with the tyranny of the majority, we will see the right to dissent, the right to exercise people’s will, the right live freely will be curtailed to that extent [where the constitution will be as good as suspended].”

Ibra noted, however, that no democratic efforts were ever wasted, while Moosa remained adamant that the MDP would not let democracy fail in the Maldives.

“We will not let that happen. We will protect democracy, hold the government accountable and ensure the independence of the judiciary. We can do all this, and we will.”

“We started this [fight for democracy] under an authoritarian government with the support of the people. We brought down that government with an election, we forced them to bring a democratic government, we have grown in numbers since then. We fought the coup and got an election even with several attempts to deny it,” said Moosa.

Both Ibra and Ibu felt that it is time for MDP to sit down and discuss how to proceed in the future.

“The MDP has to sit down and reevaluate their strategies and decide if the strategy used in the past five or six years has worked or not. We need to have a very honest look at the situation and reevaluate. But this task will be made harder considering the environment we have to restrategise in. It is a difficult and more opressive environment,” Ibra said.

With calls for party reform being heard, party chair Moosa said any changes will be brought in through democratic means.

“If it is necessary, we will reform MDP. The party will function as the members want it to, we will never allow family rule,” he said.


24 thoughts on “Majlis elections: Undue influence, bribery, and disilussionment led to losses, says MDP”

  1. OMG
    ... Now the MDP excuse list starts. Everything thing from El Niño to disappearance of Malaysian Airlines (all except poorly political strategy and leadership) would be cited.

    you thought you were up againt bunch of rookies. My God, what were you thinking!

    Looks like MDP needs few more coups and loose few more elections to master politics 101

  2. what did Nasheed did in 2009 ? He openly campaign and use public money to do his party campaign and even openly told that he will use all government resources to do campaign for his party ?

    Campaign did not end after the election and he had gone ever further buying elected MPs from opposition parties by paying millions.

    MDP need a clear reform and MDP need to remove Nasheed from its supreme leader and new leaders need come up.

    Nasheed tactics and policies are failed and he could not even managed to rule the country after given the leadership on a plate.

    Nasheed must let go MDP out of his fist and MDP members are sick of his dictatorial attitudes.

  3. "Hero" still sucks at lying.

    Because, hey, how can you campaign for presidency in 2009?

    Ah, the ignorance of a crab in a bucket raised on DhiTV is a delightful thing.

  4. Just one person speaking the truth transformed the political landscape of the Maldives forever. What President Nasheed stood for and fought for and delivered is now the blue print for future governments as we can see from the manifesto of President Yaameen. Thank you President Nasheed. I am confident that the MPs of MDP will honour your vision and legacy and make this government accountable for its actions.

  5. When the koalhushun makes excuses, they're 'legitimate grievances', hearable in the supreme court. When MDP has legitimate grievances, it's 'excuses'.

    Typical double standard of a dictatorship. However, it's Nasheed's fault for accepting a political solution over a military solution. Sometimes the solution with the least bloodshed is not the best solution.

  6. @Hero

    I don't know if you knew that 49% of those who voted in the Presidential elections voted for President Nasheed. That is 21 months after he was removed from office by the coup of 7 February 2012 AND after three aborted elections. I think you need to get your head out of what ever fiction you are reading. President Nasheed has set the bar for justice, equity, wealth distribution, free health care, housing for all, transport for all, and education for all. Its a hard act to follow.

  7. Excuses aside, it is quite clear that MDP has been outsmarted by its opponents. People have infiltrated MDP; double agents operate in there and their tactics and plans have been leaked so that their opponents know all their strategies well in advance.

    The old fox Gayyoom didn't rule this country for 30 years because people loved him or his family. He clearly used strategies and tactics to keep the people subservient. You are seeing Part II of that in action here.

    If MDP is to survive as a political force they have to shift away from their policies and tactics of the past 5 years. Those clearly haven't worked. It's not rocket science is it? Getting almost all significant political actors to go against MDP was perhaps the single biggest mistake MDP managed to make for itself.

    There are pretty smart people inside MDP. They have to do some thinking and the leadership has to make good use of them in order to succeed now. The old cliche comes to mind: when the going gets tough, the tough get going...

  8. This is Mordis. Really, this is as good an election, as ever been.

    Bribery, undue influence, manipulation, puppeteer inch, is part of the package.

    You just have to learn to play the game.

    Opposition, must realise, the playing field is different now. It's not level.

    Face reality. Earlier MDP won because of Annis charm and the calls to oust Maumoon. That field is not the same now.
    Now, the underlying theme, like the get-rid-of-Maumoon (2008), is stable government and get-rid-of-useless-animals-in-parliament.

    MDP leadership has failed to rise up to the challenge.

    It's not like any competing weren't aware of the game. For gods sake this is politics!

    And you know that the biggest deceit and deception ever on human kind is the politics of the Middle East. The religions!

  9. 'Now that PPM found majority, what are they gonna do with it'… remember the song.

    Having a majority is not a honey moon ticket.

    Firstly, PPM has to meet expectations and do actual work, like development, which is hard, needs money. Plus there is a huge coalition to manage.

    It remains to be seen whether PPM spends most time in developmental work OR managing the bickering of Seytu and the coalition for the rest of the 5 years.

    The latter is more likely because so far, there does not seem to be a credibale plan for development.

    PPM has NOT won yet. Make no mistake. They can be considered winners, if they manage to implement good policies.

    We know if PPM has won after 5 years.. not now.

  10. To all the MDPians commenting and reading this, here is your warning call -

    In last round of 2013 presidential election 105,181 people voted for MDP.

    In 2014 parliamentary elections (5 months after) only 72,130 people voted for MDP.

    Now look at the opposition numbers.

    Coalition got 111,203 in presidential election. And in march they accumulated 104,414 including independent votes which they will surely collect on after paying enormous sums of money to get the majority needed.

    MDP support dropped by 33,000 odd votes when coalition dropped only 6,000

    MDP is disillusioned if it's explanation for this drop is due to bribes, influence.

    MDP at a strategic level has become less relevant to the very own people it says it served.

    President nasheeds criticizes the international community for accepting and endorsing a coup de etat government. Well I criticize president Nasheed for making all his 105,000 supporters accepting and endorsing 2013 as a fair election when even the blind, dead and dumb know it was totally and utterly unfair and unjust.

    So Nasheed is eating his own poison, people no longer believe he is that president of the people, that beacon of hope, he is no longer that super hero who can save this nation. That story has died and the proof is this election result.

  11. Nasheed resigned after knowing his popular was going down in the drain and there was no chance for him to win 2013 election.

    This is why he resigned and he got the sympathy voters to vote him after his drama.

    @ Ali Ahmed. 2009 Nasheed was the president and we had Parliamentary election and Nasheed use public money to do campaign for MDP.

    @Shafeeza. in 2008, tell me how much Nasheed got in the final result with Gayyoom ? Nasheed got 51 and Gayyoom got 49%.

    Nasheed in the first round by himself got only 21% and then coalition helped him to become the president.

    In 2009 MDP got how many seats , ? that DRP got the majority ?

    In 2014, ruling party has got the majority in the parliament and coalition got 2/3 majority .

    In 2009, Nasheed could not get because, he had forgotten about the coalition once he was given the Presidency and he had forgotten what he mentioned during the campaign .

    We are seen the difference in leadership here.

    Nasheed is the man for the roads and Yameen is the man for leadership.

  12. @Hassan Mahir

    I agree with you. Being too shy of bloodshed will only make you a doormat that will be taken advantage of. Anni should have kicked political correctness and finished the job in 2008. What we are seeing is the bitter fruit of kindness.

    @Hero: What, now you're banning us from donating to the campaigns of our elected representatives? How far will you go to take us all back to the jahil era?

  13. Also, Hero: It was the coalition that lusted after power and split away. Perhaps you're not very well versed in Maldivian history. I guess that comes with the territory of being a foreign mercenary.

  14. If Nasheed has any sense he'll leave politics and The Maldives to what it deserves. As Johnny Rotten once sang, 'this is what you want this is what you get'. Gasim and Gayoum are back in power. The Maldives voted for them. You get what you deserve, capital punishment, control of the courts, no money etc etc. I lived in Male for a year....what a hell hole

  15. The regime will be able to change the constitution with a 2/3 majority.. This is a nightmare for this country.

    MDP has itself to blame, failing to appeal to the ignorant majority and failed to persuade the selfish. MDP has been too nice from the start, they should have played it much harder when they still had a vast majority supporting them. If your opponent plays it nasty, you have no choice but to play it nasty as well and to outsmart them.

    A dark time is coming for the maldives. Time for the open minded and smarter part of the population to find their way out. Reunite, find more allies, get smart people together to figure out the best strategy and strike back when time is ripe.

  16. Hero,Dhitv,vtv,muhamma kalo,nihan hussain manik,riyaz rasheed and Gasim are the fine ingredients of a dish called Maumoonic Maldives sprinkled with Islam,garnished with Faukhuruveri dhivehin

  17. MDP must learn to fight fire with fire. Do what PPM and coalition did to him during his first 3 years back at the regime. There is widespread corruption in this government. Starting from the shady dealings at the tourism ministry, Defence ministry to all the politically appointed members in corporations. Why can't MDP dig those up and red flag them like they did to MDP even when it was trying to do good for the people. Why don't it create havoc when a big deal is announced, irrespective of what benefits it will bring to the people, why don't it play the religious card and shout at the fact that PPM is promoting extremism in the Maldives! where is the fight in you MDP leadership! if a momentum is built up, it will only take 3 years to topple this government too!

  18. SOUR GRAPES ALL THE WAY! The idea of MDP is great, the core ideology is great BUT the way it has been implemented is PATHETIC! The CULT movement has to stop. The key leaders have to look INWARDS and correct the errors/dramatics/blunders that they have consistently made during the past 3 years.

    Anni is a great revolutionary, there is absolutely no doubt about it BUT then he is absolutely a PATHETIC Administrator.

    MDP Leaders, WAKE UP, STOP BLAMING Others for all your problems. MDP Hardcore followers, where is your intelligence. Stop following the leaders like HERDs. You have supported a philosophy/ideology that is absolutely original and MALDIVIAN! BUT, please understand that this wonderful dream has been hijacked by leaders who have become extremely selfish, greedy and corrupt.

    MDP really needs a CHANGE in the LEADERSHIP and I am confident that it can make a difference in the next Parliament / Presidential election, IF we change. Otherwise, MDP might go the DRP route....

    Sad day indeed for this wonderful journey of Democracy and FREE Speech!

  19. We must all remember that it was Nasheed who brought down a cruel dictatorship which drained our money on his personal gain and family.

    If not for Nasheed, no rashu councils would have come to life.

    If not for Nasheed, Theemuge would not have been freed. What a lot of money has been spent on a single President for that house.

    So, I hail Nasheed. Mandela of Maldives.

    Even Yaameen and Fili Waheed agree to this.

  20. My theory as to why Nasheed is failing day by day is due to Laila. Where is the Laila?? Behind every successful man is a woman. Even in Sri Lanka, the First Lady is always there, in every single step the President takes.

    I firmly believe, during the last Presidential election, if Laila was seen more, Nasheed would have been elected. Seeing is believing. Now,people have the nortion that Nasheed is having marrital problems. Laila is never around.

    Laila ah ekani ves 6000 vote negen jeheyne! Whey isn't Laila more active in MDP?? Why isn't she seen?

  21. The headline of this article reads
    "Majlis elections: Undue influence, bribery, and disilussionment led to losses, says MDP"

    Lets analyze this statement.

    In the Galholhu Dhekunu constituency, MDP majlis contender and ex- Male' city councilllor
    Ibrahim Shujau organized a lucky draw in association with a local NGO to distribute Prizes to Galholhu
    dhekunu constituents. Televisions, washing machines, cooking utensils were distributed in this lucky draw
    with participants having to fill a form/questionairre about what they wanted from Majilis candidate
    if he won. They were'nt free gifts, in that participants had to do some work, and complete a survey before
    the NGO awarded them prizes through the Lucky Draw.

    Some might argue that this wasn't corruption, because Shujau was not directly giving anything to
    anybody, he was simply donating to charity ! He was donating these gifts to the NGO, and what the
    NGO did with the gifts had nothing to do with him. I also believe that Shujau had done nothing wrong.

    And then i read this article's headlines. "Majlis elections: Undue influence, bribery, and disilussionment led to losses, says MDP".

    And i thought, could the MDP party which I support have suffered losses due to the actions of MDP candidates themselves?
    Could Shujau have lost the confidence of the people due to the gifts he indirectly distributed to the Galholhu people
    prior to the elections (through the NGO of course, not directly), and the associated negative perception ? Could
    public trust have been lost when selected few gain prizes, and the people who don't get gifts resent the person
    who organised the event ?

    Could this have been the reason why Shujau lost, even though MDP organized a much stronger campaign for Shujau
    in comparision to Mahloof's weaker campaign ?


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