President Waheed scores “first political win” with weekend’s polls, reports regional media

Regional media reports have begun to surface following the outcome of yesterday’s parliamentary by-elections in Kaashidhoo and Thimarafushi – interpreting poll results as a major victory for President Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

The Hindustan Times ran with the headline “Maldives bypolls: First political win for president”.  Meanwhile, the Pakistan-based Business Recorder described the president as having “successfully faced down his first popularity test.”

However, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which continues to question the legitimacy of Dr Waheed’s administration, has hit out at suggestions that the polls reflected widespread public support for the government.

As polling commenced yesterday, President Waheed’s own Gaumee Itihad Party (GIP) did not field any candidates for the by-elections. Instead, the president threw his support behind candidates from the former opposition Jumhoree Party (JP) and the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Official provisional results provided by the Elections Commission found that the PPM’s Ahmed Shareef won in the Thimarafushi constituency with 1756 votes (56 percent of the ballot).  MDP candidate Mohamed Musthafa came second with 1327 votes – a difference of 428.

Abdullah Jabir triumphed in the Kaashidhoo by-election with 1107 votes (54 percent of the ballot).  His MDP opponent followed him with 919 votes while PPM candidate Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim came fourth with nine votes – a single vote behind another candidate who had contested independently and came in third.

Both the PPM and JP form part of Waheed’s unity government, assembled after the resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Yesterday’s voting appeared to pass without significant incident, despite widespread concerns that violence could accompany the first parliamentary by-elections to be held since President Waheed came to power. However, the MDP candidate for Thimirafushi, Mohamed Mustafha, has disputed the result, citing significant irregularities surrounding polling in Thaa Atoll Guraidhoo.

Speaking to Minivan News today, MDP spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor alleged that election observers were obstructed from conducting their duties in Guraidhoo.  He also claimed that party observers had been arrested before the polls closed, allowing the ballots to be rigged by state representatives.

Police Spokesperson Hassan Haneef said the police had received no reports of any arrests or incidents in Guraidhoo. He also reported that there had been no unrest in either constituency after results were announced.

Election Commissioner Fuad Thaufeeq is reported in local media as having said that there were no concerns that would lead him to question the validity of the polls or their results.

In considering the by-election results, President’s Office spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza today said he believed the vote served as a ringing endorsement of the current government.  Abbas added that the ballots reflected “public confidence” in Dr Waheed’s administration,  as well providing a vital working majority in the Majlis.

Abbas also felt that Saturday’s success gave the government a clear signal that it has sufficient support to complete the full presidential term into 2013.

Alternatively, MDP spokesperson Ghafoor said that he saw the polls as “the price we have to pay for early elections – to show that the right conditions [for presidential elections] are here.”

Ghafoor argued that the by-elections were essentially a throw-back to the pre-2008 Gayoom-era, dismissing the interpretation that the result showed support for the current President.

“The intricacies of local elections have a long history of corruption. This [result] has nothing to do with Waheed, it’s Gayoom’s people,” he continued.

President Waheed last night thanked all those who voted in support of the national unity government via his official Twitter page: “Thanks to all who voted for Shareef and Jabir. We have a clear majority in Maldives parliament,” he wrote.


8 thoughts on “President Waheed scores “first political win” with weekend’s polls, reports regional media”

  1. in 2008 presidential elections MDP won 20% of vote from kaashidhoo , in 2009 only 7% in majlis elections .. Yesterday MDP won 43% of the constituency .... Medhu raajje therey is heartland of Pro maumoon supporters . This bi-election proves MDP have gained a lot despite huge cash injection from seytu Qaasim.

  2. It all appears rosy now, wait until the squabbling begins just before the presidential elections.
    It is rumored that Gasim wants the Presidency only to turn it into a Monarchy and remain the King of Maldives for eternity. who knows what else he has planned for the rest of the Maldivians who are not on his payroll.

  3. This result has nothing at all to do with Waheed and his regime. It's the start of a power struggle between Gasim's JP and Gayyoom clan's PPM!

    It's quite clear that Gasim laid out vast sums of money in order to prop up Jabir as his party's candidate. Without Gasim's cash, Jabir did not have a cat in hell's chance of winning the seat.

    The other contender to the "throne", PPM, will certainly not let Gasim win in a general election. The ground is being prepared for a battle to win the next presidential elections!

    Waheed will be the biggest loser in all of this. He will have absolutely no role in either a PPM or JP lead government.

  4. It's too bad isn't it, that with the successful weekend elections, instead of feeling confident about public support for waheed and his govenment, Abbas is actually looking for excuses to not hold elections this year! Now the general election would be the real test, and already they are running away from it!

  5. If you want real tests then you have to go to more populous areas like Male & Addu. They bought out out many votes by promising cash incentives.

  6. MDP needs to clean up the bad elements of its party and reform if they need to win the presidential election in 2013.

    MDP leader Didi has openly admitted the party is being hijacked by Nasheed, Reeko & Maria. These 3 must be removed.

  7. You would indeed think that this lot would have summoned up a bit of confidence to hold early elections, thanks to their hard earned wins of late.

    Instead they are pussyfooting about the place and trying to divide and conquer MDP. Why not get their confidence up and face the challenge
    of early elections?

    Why not try to be three times lucky? Getting away with a coup, rigging a by election, who knows, an early election may be a walk in the park? Maybe they are having a lucky streak and should make the most of it - before even more people wake up.


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