Majlis election: Nasheed calls for MDP restructuring after election defeat

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has called for new leadership within the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) following defeat in what he described as an “unfair” but accepted parliamentary election.

“I request new people to come and run the party,” Nasheed told the media today.

The party’s figurehead said he will continue to serve the party in the future and hopes that members of the party would make clear his role.

“I want new people to come forward to run the party. But I will not go away from the party, I will always remain in doing party work,” he added.

Nasheed, a co-founder of MDP and it’s first chairperson, was elected as the President of Maldives in the first democratic election in 2008.

The position of both president and vice president of the party remain vacant after party president Dr Ibrahim Didi and VP Alhan Fahmy were removed in a no-confidence vote in April 2012. Nasheed said today that a new party president should be elected soon.

“It is important for the party to restructure with these new results and with new people and go forward fast,“ he said.

Commenting on the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) comments about reforming the MDP, Nasheed said that the work done by all parties in the Maldives needed reform.

“If PPM says that, it should be an inspiration for us. I believe when parties tell each other to strengthen their functioning, it must be accepted,” Nasheed said.

The function of holding the government accountable would be difficult without a majority, he noted, but it would still be carried out by the MDP in other forms such as questioning state institutions and bringing issues to the attention of the public.

“We did hope for a majority. I was hoping for around 45 seats. Not winning the election was a great loss for us. But I don’t think the result is such a loss that we should be so worried that we stop our work and become weak.”

“The MDP will remain as a big party, will hold rallies, give speeches, take trips, will say whatever has to be said politically at anytime. The MDP will protest, MDP will raise their voice over issues. MDP will carry out peaceful political activity?” Nasheed continued.

An official party statement issued today said that the party hopes its members will remain in reforming the country, and assured that the elected candidates of the party will remain in “preventing the country from going off track” and in reforming the judiciary.

“The MDP will always go forward in the path shown by the members and supporters of the party, in ways which are most beneficial for the country,” the MDP press statement read.

Parliamentary Elections

The reasons for losing the election previously suggested by members of the MDP leadership were echoed by Nasheed today

He said the defeat was a result of multiple factors, including undue influence, fear, money, candidates, policies, campaign budget shortages, and a lack of confidence in the election.

Nasheed suggested that expelling employees from companies with government shares and government positions also had a negative impact on the results.

“The voter turnout was very low in many areas. I believe among these reasons are removing Elections Commission members, and lack of confidence in the election from the members of the public,” Nasheed said.

Criticising the Supreme Court’sremoval of the Elections Commission (EC) president and vice president a few days ahead of the parliamentary elections, Nasheed said that such an election will be “very difficult to be considered fair”.

He said that it was a display of power to the public and it resulted in a low voter turnout, as many people believed the election would not make a difference.

“We believe this is not a fair transparent election because of that. I am not saying that things didn’t go well on election day. I’m not saying that we don’t generally accept the election.”

He also noted that the leadership of any party and the those involved in it should take responsibility for the victories and losses.

Commenting on the leadership’s responsibility for the defeat, Nasheed said that negligence of leaders should be accepted when faced with a failure, but that there had been no such negligence to a level which required going into detail and pointing fingers.

Congratulating President Abdulla Yameen for achieving “a great victory”, Nasheed called on him to lead and work with the MDP in reforming the judiciary and sustaining the democratic system.

“We hope that our members will do substantial work in the parliament as an opposition party. We believe there is a lot of work that has to be done through the People’s Majlis.”

“I hope the government will use their parliament majority with care, that they will not take our members to court, and that these members will not have to face extraordinary obstacles.”


EC dismissals: Majlis says commissioners’ removal was unconstitutional

The People’s Majlis has written to the chief justice and the attorney general, stating that the president and vice president of the Election Commission (EC) were removed contrary to the constitutional procedures governing their appointment and dismissal.

The letter – signed by Speaker Abdulla Shahid and Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim – also noted that the move contravened the Elections Commission Act.

According to Majlis, the content of the letter was based on legal advice of parliament’s counsel general after her analysis of the Supreme Court’s verdict.

The Supreme Court yesterday sentenced EC President Fuwad Thowfeek to six months imprisonment under Article 88(a) of the penal code, and ordered the enforcement of the sentence be delayed for a period of three years.

The verdict also declared that Fuwad and Vice President Ahmed Fayaz had “lost the right and legal status to remain members of the commission and that the pair’s seats on the commission have become vacant”.

The letter stated that it was the People’s Majlis which is tasked with the appointment and removal of EC members, and that for any given reason a member of that commission can only be removed by a simple majority of votes in a parliament sitting as “clearly stated” in Article 177 of the constitution and Article 14 of the Elections Commission Act.

“Referring to the said article of the constitution and the elections commission act, it is clear that the authority to appoint and remove member from that commission is especially reserved for the People’s Majlis without the involvement of any other party.”

The letter also said that the removal of the pair by the Supreme Court contravenes the procedures specified in Article 177 of the constitution and Articles 5, 10, and 14 of the EC Act.

The letter referred to a number of statements from the Supreme Court’s verdict nullifying parliament’s removal of Mohamed Fahmy Hassan from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in March last year.

The Majlis today noted that the constitutional procedures for removing EC members and CSC members were the same, saying that the court’s previous ruling had said the following:

“It is clear from the letter of the constitution that the constitution does not allow any of the three powers of the state to carry out the constitutional jurisdiction or functions of another, and that it is clearly stated that the system of separation of powers, and check and balance established between three powers by constitution is an principal feature of the constitutional system and the constitution of the Maldives.”

Referring to the same verdict, the letter said that the court had stated that “all powers of the state should fulfil their jurisdictions and functions within the constitutional limits set for that power by the constitution”.

The same ruling also stated that constitutional procedures regarding independent institutions are there to ensure their independence. In this regard, the verdict noted that tasking the executive with appointment, the parliament with removal and accountability, and the chief justice with oath taking are also check and balance procedures established under the constitutional principle of separation of powers.


MDP majority will reform Supreme Court and JSC, says Nasheed

President Mohamed Nasheed has said that Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) will change the number of judges in the Supreme Court and strive to bring their thinking closer to that of the people, and closer to justice.

“We can never accept the level of political influence and the ugly money of corruption that has entered most courts of Maldives. We have to reform these courts. Development for the Maldives can only be achieved if the people Maldives are able to get justice and equality.”

Speaking at a parliamentary campaign rally in Thinadhoo, Gaafu Dhaalu atoll, Nasheed said that the judicial watchdog will also be reformed by amending the Judicial Services Commission Act.

He said that the MDP’s priority was judicial reform, and that nothing else could be carried out in the Maldives without such reform.

Nasheed said that society does not accept the offering and taking of bribes by judges or their meddling in political affairs.

“We cannot accept the judiciary’s meddling with the Elections Commission under the parliament’s guardianship. With a Maldivian Democratic Party majority in the 18th People’s Majlis, we will – God willing – reform the judiciary,” he said.


Nasheed said the MDP was competing in the parliamentary elections with a promise of obtaining the ownership of local resources for locals.

“We have to empower the councils. As long that power is retrained, we won’t be able to achieve the development we want,” Nasheed said.

Stating the central government in Malé could  not achieve development without decentralisation and the empowerment of local councils, Nasheed said that islands are capable of carrying out their development activities by themselves.

“The wealth of our country is widespread and enormous. Our people have even today started accepting that this is not the rightful amount for the people. Our objective is to get for the people their rightful due,” said the former president.

Referring to the ‘southern rebellion’ of 1959, Nasheed said that it was the same rightful due that the people of Thinadhoo and Huvadhoo hoped and protested for in the past.

“Back then most of us saw the people’s protests as acts against the state. By any modern standard they were protests. Excessive force was used to disperse those protests and many people died.”

“We don’t want to see that, but people will stand up if they these powers are not given to them, and they will work to get their powers,” Nasheed said.

A key objective of the MDP in the parliament was to hold the government accountable as an opposition party, he added, reiterating that the MDP would encourage the fulfillment of government pledges in line with the party policies.

During campaigning for his Progressive Party of Maldives last week, President Abdulla Yameen told party supporters that an MDP majority would seek to oust his government from office.

Indeed, following the local council elections in January, Nasheed pledged that his party would take advantage of any legal means to remove Yameen after what it maintains was a fraudulent presidential election last year.


Jumhooree Party ticket to include eight sitting MPs and retired police commisioner

The Jumhooree Party has selected nine parliamentary candidates for March’s elections, choosing eight sitting MPs as well as retired Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz.

The ticket for Kimbidhoo constituency was given to Riyaz  as he signed for the party yesterday. Speaking at the Jumhooree Party’s (JP) ‘Kunooz’ headquarters, leader Gasim Ibrahim requested that the people of the constituency vote for Riyaz.

Gasim also endorsed former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Sameer, who joined the party the previous day after being guaranteed the ticket for the Dhidhoo constituency he currently represents.

The party selections have received some negative responses from supported both insides and outside of the party.

Along with Sameer, the JP has awarded tickets to eight sitting MPs, inclusing: JP leaderánd Maamigili MP Gasim Ibrahim, Mathiveri MP Hussein Mohamed, Hithadhoo South MP Hassan Latheef, Maradhoo MP Hassan Adil, Naifaru MP Ahmed Mohamed, Gemanafushi MP Ilham Ahmed, and Kanditheem MP Mohamed Hussein.

Sitting JP MP s Shifag Mufeed and Hoarafushi MP Ahmed Rasheed have decided not to run for re-election.


The JP’s selection policy has caused consternation within the ranks, however, with JP council member Fuad Gasim – also the state minister for health and gender – expressing disapproval of the party selection policy.

Fuad said that awarding tickets to members who just recently joined the party would limit the opportunities for party loyalists. Of greatest concern to Fuad was the selection of Sameer, though he stated additional reasons for grievance.

“I believe a lot of people worked very hard for the country, democracy, and the party during the recent presidential elections. Even if they are MP s I cannot accept them – not being part of that work and now coming to us for tickets when the government changed,” Fuad was quoted as saying.

JP  Deputy Leader and spokes person Dr Hussein Rasheed denied the party ticket was awarded to anyone.

“People are saying a lot things to create divisions in the party and the coalition. But none of that is true.” said Dr Hussein.

The nine candidates in question were reviewed by the special committee created for the purpose by the council, and since they received more than 51% marks they do not have to compete in a primary, he added.

“For the remaining 19 seats, we will be holding a primary if we have to, and today is the deadline for applying to these seats.”

The Minister of Islamic Affairs Mohamed Shaheem of the Adhaalath Party– who campaigned for the JP during presidential elections – has  also expressed disapproval of the selection.

“Every one were in the MDP are getting the coalition ticket from JP. Where is [the] fairness [in this]? They won’t be loyal to this government,” Shaheem was quoted as saying.

After Adhaalath was excluded from the governing coalition’s Majlis negotiations to assign seats to coalition parties, the JP offered to share  up to 3 seats from their allocation of 28 slots. The JP has said that slots will be shared only with conditions, such as not competing with the JP in other constituencies.

Local media has today reported Adhaalath’s leaders to be displeased with the offer of three seats, reportedly rejecting the offer. Gasim told Sun Online that Adhaalath had requested five slots, though he maintained that the original offer remained on the table.

Celebrity candidates

JP candidate Riyaz was appointed as Commissioner of Police immediately after the controversial power transfer of 7 February 2012. Riyaz – not a police officer at the time – was seen carrying President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation letter to the speaker of the People’s Majlis without any official authorisation.

The opposition MDP has often accused Riyaz of involvement in planning the police mutiny and the alleged ‘coup d’etat’ of 7 February. His appointment was questioned, and the Police Integrity Commission found that he had violated the Police Act by campaigning against President Nasheed whilst commissioner.

As all parties prepare for the People’s Majlis elections scheduled for 22 March, a number of high profile candidates have emerged from outside of the political sphere. Local celebrities have shown an interest in contesting – among them famous sportsmen, media personalities,actors, and directors .

Sports personalities showing such an interest includes President of Volleyball Association of Maldives (VAM) Mohamed Riyaz, volleyball coach Ibrahim Rasheed (Satho), and former national football team players Ali Umar, Ahmed Thoriq (Tom), Ashraf Lutfee (Sampath), and Mohamed Sinan (Naanee).

Media personalities considering running include Television Maldives’s presenter and journalist Aishath Leeza, Raajje TV news head Ibrahim ‘Aswad’ Waheed, Dhitv presenter Mohamed Ameeth, and presenter Aminath Namza.

From the film industry, director and Vice Chair of Maldives Film Association Fathmath Nahula, actor and city council member Lufshan Shakeeb (Looppe), and actorsMuhamed Abdulla (Muhamma) and Ali Shameel.

All of the above, the exception of Aswad (MDP), will represent pro-government parties should they choose to run.


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.