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Candidates from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have won seven out of the 10 seats in play during yesterday’s second round of voting in the local council elections, according to preliminary results from the Elections Commission (EC).
Run-off elections took place between candidates for three island councils tied in last place with the same number of votes, whilst a revote was held in the island of Miladhoo in Noonu atoll.
The results of the January 18 poll in Miladhoo were annulled after it emerged that disappearing ink was used at the polling booth.
In addition to the island council races, a rescheduled vote was held for two atoll council seats from the Gaaf Alif Villigili constituency.
The poll was postponed by the EC to afford a candidate adequate time to campaign after his disqualification by the commission was overturned by the Supreme Court. The candidate in question had however withdrawn his candidacy following the EC’s decision to delay the poll.
Two candidates each from the MDP and the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) contested the two Villigili atoll council seats.
The two winners were PPM candidate Saudhulla Rasheed with 1,227 votes, followed by MDP candidate Mohamed Haleel with 1,124 votes.
The opposition party won a majority of seats in the Gaaf Alif Atoll council.
In Baa Fehendhoo, MDP candidate Aminath Fazeena narrowly defeated government-aligned Jumhooree Party candidate Fathmath Nuzla with 79 votes and 75 votes respectively. With the victory, the opposition party secured a majority of the Fehendhoo island council.
In Haa Alif Muraidhoo, two MDP candidates who had received the same number of votes faced off for the island council seat. Asrar Abdulla won the run-off poll with 268 votes.
A pair of MDP candidates contested in Raa Maakurath as well with Saudhulla Mohamed beating Abdulla Azeez for the last island council seat.
Of ten candidates standing in the revote for the five-member Miladhoo island council, three MDP candidates – Ibrahim Areef, Abubakur Ali, and Hassan Moosa – received the highest number of votes followed by PPM candidate Abdul Muttalib Abdul Samad in fourth place.
Two PPM candidates – Mohamed Ali and Fathmath Mohamed – were tied in fifth place with 428 votes.
While a run-off election was also due to take place yesterday in Gaaf Alif Kodey, the poll was postponed pending a High Court ruling on an ongoing election-related case.
The newly-elected councillors are due to be sworn in on February 26.
Some 2,463 candidates contested in the January 18 elections for 1,100 seats – 951 island council seats, 132 atoll council seats, and 17 city council seats – in the country’s second local government elections under the landmark Decentralisation Act of 2010.
Yesterday’s victories for the MDP brings its seat haul to 465 in total, including eight out of 11 seats in the Malé City Council and all six seats in the Addu City Council. The party fielded 901 candidates.
The governing Progressive Coalition – consisting of the PPM, JP, and Maldives Development Alliance – fielded 934 candidates and has now won a combined total of 459 seats.
With the three seats it won in yesterday’s polls, the PPM has taken 280 seats, followed by the JP with 123 seats and the MDA with 56 seats.
The Adhaalath Party fielded 83 candidates and secured 45 seats while, of the 543 independent candidates, 133 were elected.
The religious conservative party campaigned independently of the government coalition as it was not an official coalition partner with a formal agreement.
The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) meanwhile fielded two candidates and won one council seat.