Parties prepare for Majlis elections as EC calls for applications

The Elections Commission (EC) has announced it will be accepting applications for the People’s Majlis elections between January 29 and February 11.

A fee of MVR5000 (US$ 324) is required for every application.

The parliamentary elections are scheduled for March 22, and results are to be announced on March 29. The commission also published the Elections Regulation 2014 today.

As the Elections Commission (EC) gears up for the elections, all major political parties contesting have begun to select their candidates.

Maldivian Democratic Party

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – who narrowly lost the presidential election last November -will be contesting for all 85 seats of the People’s Majlis. 27 candidates have won the party’s ticket without contest, being the sole contender in those areas.

Tickets for the remaining 58 seats – sought by 176 candidates – are to be awarded through party primaries. The primaries were held for 20 seats on January 25, after being called off the previous day due to administrative and voter registry issues. Winners in these areas have also been announced.

Polling is expected to take place tomorrow for Baarashu constituency tomorrow, and primaries will be held for another 30 constituencies this weekend.

Governing coalition deal

The governing coalition led by President Abdulla Yameen’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has decided to compete as a group. The parties in the coalition have reached a deal to reserve a set number of seats for each party.

As per the deal, 49 seats have been reserved for PPM candidated, 28 seats have been allocated for tourism tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Party (JP), and Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam’s Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) will run for 8 seats.

Progressive Party of Maldives

President Abdulla Yameen’s PPM, which has the majority of coalition seat allocations, has scheduled part-primaries for February 4. By 4pm yesterday – the deadline to apply for party tickets – 150 candidates had applied for the allocated 49 seats. These candidates will now go through a screening process where they will be evaluated and graded based on the following criteria;

  • upholding the party ideology
  • how long the person has served in the party
  • experience in the parliament
  • campaigned for the party presidential candidate
  • belonging to a ‘special category’ recognised by the party
  • the amount of service provided for the party

The screening will be carried out by a committee formed by the party council and the strategic planning committee. Applicants who don’t get at least 75 percent marks will not be qualified to compete in the primaries. In constituencies where one person is qualified for the primary, that candidate will automatically win the ticket. If all the applicants for a seat fail meet the criteria, a primary will be held among them.

Jumhooree Party

The JP yesterday opened applications for 19 of their 28 allocated seats before 30 January. Applications for the remainder of the seats will also be announced soon. Applicants will initially be reviewed by a special committee formed by the party council, giving them points through a set of criteria. The applicants with the most points will receive the party tickets. In case of a draw,the party will attempt to find a solution through dialogue – failing this, the party will discuss a primary election.

Maldives Development Alliance

The Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) have decided to reserve two of their eight allocated seats for sitting MP s – party leader and Dhaalu Meedhoo MP Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam, and Dhaalu Kudahuvadhoo MP Ahmed Amir. Tickets for Kendhikulhudhoo and Hoarafushi were won by uncontested candidates. Primaries will be held in for Manadhoo and Velidhoo tickets on 30 January, while the application for Holhudhoo constituency is still open.

The MDA has decided not to contest for Gaddhoo constituency, despite being allocated the seat by the coalition, as there are no party members in the area.

Adhaalath Party

While the PPM has earlier discussed allocating coalition seats for the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) through the coalition deal, no seats were allocated for them through the coalition’s parliamentary election deal, as the party is not officially a coalition member. The PPM has said, however, that other members of the coalition are free to share their allocated seats with AP.

In this regard, the JP has proposed an interest to share some of it’s tickets with Adhaalath. According to JP Secretary General Dr Ahmed Saud, the party will propose 1 to 3 seats to Adhaalath with a set of conditions such as not competing with the JP for any other seat. Both JP and Adhaalath has confirmed their leaders will soon hold talks to decide on the matter.

An Adhaalath official told Minivan News that it is unlikely for the party to settle for that amount of seats when the party is already confident about several constituencies.