The ruling party’s election success in population hubs across the country gave “a clear indication of the current political situation”, President Mohamed Nasheed said during a party rally at the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s Haruge.
“The government received huge support in some of the small populations. We need to consider the results of the election in several ways. This election is not about the amount of seats,” Haveeru reported Nasheed as saying.
“If we are able to do it [win elections] blindfolded I don’t see any reason why I can’t contest in 2013. It’s fortunate that the constitution limits the presidential terms to two,” he added in an apparent attempt to bait the opposition, today troubled by factional infighting.
According to Haveeru a jubilant Nasheed also criticised the campaigns of the opposition parties, as well as coalition party Adhaalath, saying he was “surprised that I couldn’t see anyone voting for Adhaalath Party except from Kinolhas (Raa Atoll). I did not see any party carrying out a good campaign except the MDP.”
The DRP has claimed victory in the local council elections citing a seat majority of 502 across island and atoll councils, to the MDP’s 375. The MDP has claimed victory because it won almost all the population hubs in the country, which could swing the popular vote in its favour.
The Elections Commission said this morning that it was still calculating the popular vote, which will give a percentage figure of support for each party.
This will provide a clearer indication of the election result than seat count or raw ballots, both because of the divide in DRP votes due to an ongoing factional split, and the ‘multiple’ votes made for island and atoll councils.
One senior figure in the MDP said the party’s preliminary calculations had pegged the result somewhere between 45-50% for the MDP and low 40s for the opposition – which would be a significant jump in support for the ruling party following the parliamentary election. However the source said the figure would be difficult to calculate with any accuracy until the Elections Commission provided voter turnout data.
Leader of the Labour Party Ahmed ‘Redwave’ Saleem, an MDP coalition partner, has meanwhile been quoted from a press statement as calling for Nasheed to resign from office and “hand over the presidency to a more qualified and responsible person.”
Saleem contends that the government misused state assets to conduct its campaign in the lead-up to the Local Council Elections, which saw President Nasheed visiting over 100 islands and giving 130 speeches.
The President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair told Haveeru yesterday that the President had worn through three pairs of shoes during the campaign, and was now on a four-day break.
Opposition leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali meanwhile told Minivan News yesterday that the priority was to ensure that successful candidates from all sides were aware of their new responsbilities.
“It is a fact that candidates from many parties including ours may not be clear on their responsibilities and mandates,” Thasmeen said.
“We don’t have any details on when the local councils will begin their work, and there are many issues that need to be finalised. For example, how will these councils interact with the government?”
Parties across the political spectrum would be required to provide “support structures” such as technical training to try prepare individual council members for decentralised governance, he added.