Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) Spokesperson and MP Ahmed Mahloof has stated that the party is confident of winning the September 7 presidential election unless there are “major incidents” on the day.
The party’s biggest concern was the chance that a large part of the electorate registered in polling stations other than those at their permanent residences may be denied the right to vote, he said.
“We are confident that unless such a problem arises, or some major incidents are carried out on voting day, we can smoothly win the elections even if things carry on as now,” Mahloof continued.
“Honestly, what worries us is that thousands from the electorate may be unable to cast their votes. However, the Election Commission (EC)’s Vice President [Ahmed] Fayaz has assured us at the last meeting we had that the EC will ensure no more than 50 people will be unable to vote due to any complications that may arise from re-registration,” he stated at a press conference held today (August 26).
Fayaz today suggested that the PPM’s concerns may have resulted from them “somehow misquoting” what he had said to them during an informal meeting.
Mahloof said although the party accepted that a low number of persons may be unable to vote due to unavoidable complications that may arise on election day, he felt it was better to air any concerns prior to polling day.
“This country needs peace and calm. There will never be peace in this country if the day after the elections, a group comes out again, expressing dissatisfaction with the results, and commits arson and assaults,” Mahloof said.
Mahloof declared that the PPM’s weekly survey showed the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) was rapidly losing the support it had previously had.
The PPM poll currently predicts the PPM will receive 46% of the votes, the MDP 29%, the Jumhooree Party (JP) coalition 18%, and President Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP) just 7%.
“If we consider the number of votes, MDP gets about 63,000 votes, PPM gets 103,000 votes, JP will get about 39,600 votes, and it looks like GIP will get approximately 15,000 votes,” he revealed.
Mahloof claimed that these sudden changes in survey figures were a result of the electorate becoming aware of the policies of different candidates through various televised interviews.
Mahloof went on to suggest that a drop in support may have been behind the MDP’s decision not to compete in Saturday’s (August 24) council by election held in the island of Nolhivaram in Haa Dhaal Atoll.
“There are some very active and courageous MDP activists in that island, and yet the party head office in Male’ didn’t dare contest as it might expose the lack of support the party has now,” he alleged.
“We’re democratic, unlike the PPM”: MDP
Responding to Mahloof’s allegations, MDP spokesperson and MP Imthiyaz Fahmy stated that his party refused to take part in any election if it could not democratically select a candidate.
“With the presidential elections this close, that is our main focus. We do not have time to hold primaries for a post in local councils that will only last for the next four months, as holding primaries is itself time consuming,” Fahmy said.
Fahmy also dismissed the PPM’s survey as “baseless”, saying that few Maldivians were even aware of such a poll.
“It’s easy to come out with poll results ‘conducted’ by themselves and announce a clear win, but it’s absolutely baseless. No surveys have thus far been conducted in the country with the oversight of an independent body.”
“All the candidates have at one point or another agreed that MDP is leading the race. The debate they engage in is about which of them will come second in the elections. MDP has garnered even more support as more people are becoming aware of our policies,” Fahmy said.
“MDP wishes to engage in competitive multi-party politics, and to contest in a free and fair competitive election. We are not the ones with a culture of attempting to win elections through bribery, vote-rigging or influencing the authorities,” Fahmy stated.
“Look at the allegations PPM is levying against the EC… we suspect that they are voicing so many complaints about the EC now only because the commission is standing as a barrier between them and some underhand plans they may be cooking up,” Fahmy alleged.
PPM is aiming to create unrest, discord: JP Coalition
JP Spokesperson Moosa Ramiz meanwhile alleged that PPM press conferences were often used for “fear-mongering”, aiming to “create discord and unrest.
“Although they’re working under a different name now – from DRP [Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party] to PPM – these are the same people who threw balls of fire at crowds and created havoc in 2008,” Ramiz continued.
“Mahloof’s statement saying ‘unless ‘huge incidents’ occur seems like a forecast they are giving, possibly meaning that if they lose, they will create unrest. That’s how we interpret it.”
“As for those polls and surveys they speak of, we do not accept those results at all. They are just saying whatever works in their benefit, probably without even having actually conducted any research,” Ramiz said.
“Although [Abdulla] Yameen appears to be the PPM candidate, it is actually [former President and PPM Leader Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom] who is doing the campaigning, and Maumoon who will be in pulling the strings. And we know who Maumoon is. He has remained two-faced, both when in power and now. He will appear all sincere and benevolent, but will be burning inside. Even now, with this survey, we see his habits on display, the habit of working in the interests of nepotism, doing whatever will benefit him, his family and those he considers ‘close’ to him,” Ramiz stated.
Ramiz further argued it was unbelievable that the PPM could gather that much support from the public, suggesting that the public had no trust in Yameen, and that his running mate – Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed – was a man “full of nothing but envy.”
“Jameel’s always throwing a fit, loudly proclaiming to put all his competition in jail for long term, or to flog someone, or to amputate someone, or something of this sort. He’s another man that the public no longer accept in the political arena. The poll they speak of is a farce. How can they have such support with men like this,” asked Ramiz.
“Insha allah, the elections may turn out exactly opposite from what they have predicted,” he added.
Gaumee Ithihad Party (GIP) Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza was not responding to calls at the time of press.