The ruling coalition is planning to celebrate Saturday’s council by-election victories with fireworks in Malé tonight.
The fireworks display is due to take place around 8:30pm at the artificial beach.
According to provisional results from the Elections Commission, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdul Mufeed won the by-election in Haa Alif Muraidhoo for a vacant seat on the island council with 208 votes (45.41 percent) whilst his closest contender, independent candidate Mohamed Fuwad, received 143 votes (31.22 percent).
Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Aishath Visama received 107 votes (23.36 percent).
In the contest for the Meedhoo constituency seat on the Dhaalu atoll council, Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) candidate Mohamed Mamdhooh secured 997 votes (60.94) against MDP candidate Salim al-Sabah with 639 votes (39.06 percent).
The Meedhoo constituency is represented in parliament by MDA leader and resort tycoon, MP Ahmed Siyam Mohamed.
Voter turnout was 70.25 percent in Meedhoo and 80.56 percent in Muraidhoo.
Speaking at a press conference last night following the announcement of the by-election results, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb declared President Abdulla Yameen would win re-election in one round of voting in 2018.
Adeeb said the victories for PPM and coalition partner MDA candidates showed the government’s support was not 25 percent as the opposition claims.
A majority of the public was behind the current administration and supported its policies, he suggested.
“We will show results through the ballot box,” said the PPM deputy leader, condemning the opposition’s ongoing nightly anti-government demonstrations.
After former coalition partner Jumhooree Party (JP) withdrew support for the government and formed an alliance with the MDP last month, the opposition has contended that the current government lacks legitimacy and does not have a popular mandate to govern.
In the cancelled first round of the 2013 presidential election, PPM candidate Yameen polled 25 percent.
After polling 29.72 percent in the first round re-vote, Yameen won the second round run-off against former President Mohamed Nasheed after the JP decided to form a coalition with PPM.
JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim finished third place in the re-vote with 23.43 percent and endorsed Yameen after initially declaring he would remain neutral.
Adeeb meanwhile noted last night that the ruling coalition won the recent by-elections after the JP left the coalition.
Street protests could neither produce results nor weaken the government, he said.
The nightly protests were also adversely affecting local businesses and causing disruptions in the capital, he added.
Adeeb also slammed former ally Adhaalath Party (AP) for joining the opposition campaign, contending that its leaders have “betrayed” the religious conservative party’s members.
“GMR is now OK, Denmark is also OK [for AP leaders],” he said, referring to AP President Sheikh Imran Abdulla spearheading nationalistic protests calling for the cancellation of the Indian infrastructure giant’s agreement to manage the international airport and the party’s allegations that former President Mohamed Nasheed pursued anti-Islamic policies.
At a press conference last week, Adeeb said the AP’s leaders have made “a career” out of toppling governments.
Adeeb also claimed that the ruling coalition has won six out of eight by-elections held since the 2013 presidential election. However, 12 council by-elections have been called since the presidential poll, half of which were won by opposition candidates.
In several by elections, opposition candidates won by default as the ruling coalition did not field candidates.
If there’s an election, it’s won by PPM or MDA. Therefore, we must have fireworks in Malé tomorrow, PPM PG Leader Ahmed Nihan said.
All are invited. We secure results from the ballot box, a PPM supporter said.