MDP prepares for internal elections while party’s frustrated former president decides to switch ship

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has announced that internal elections for the party chairmanship and presidential candidate will be held on June 16, with all members registered before April 12, 2012 eligible to vote.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP’s Deputy Secretary General Ahmed Akram said that the decision was made in accordance with the article 95 of the party constitution and that details of eligible voters were available from the party’s website and the main headquarters of the party.

Article 95 of the party constitution states that a list of eligible voters must be made public 30 days prior to the election date.

Akram said that a total of 16 candidates will be taking part in all internal elections including the party presidential primaries and the party presidential elections. He also stated that about a thousand officials from the party would be involved in administering more than 260 ballot boxes.

“All the eligible voters will  be able to cast their vote for the positions of the party chairperson and the party’s presidential primaries, while the participants of the party’s last congress will be eligible to vote for the position of administrative deputy chairmanship,” he said.

“The votes would be counted in the presence of the observers at the polling station,” he added.

The party’s internal elections will also include the constituency presidential elections and the positions of some party constituency steering committees, to which only party members registered in the specific constituency will be able to cast their votes.

Elections for the party’s President and Vice President are due to be held on August 31, and several senior members of the party running for the posts have already started campaigning.

However earlier this week current interim chairperson of the party Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik, the sole contender for the position of the party chairpersonship elections, in a statement called on candidates running for the MDP Presidency and Vice Presidency to halt their campaigns, after the MDP National Council has questioned whether the positions were necessary.

Moosa said members of the council had questioned whether the responsibilities of the President and Vice President overlapped with chairmanship, and that some members were proposing that the positions be removed.

‘’Because of the way the MDP Charter states the responsibilities of the President and Vice President of the party, during the last meeting of the National Council members questioned whether the positions were necessary,” he said.

‘’Some members of the National Council proposed a meeting to remove the two positions from the party, while others called to amend the inconsistencies in the party’s charter that makes the responsibilities of the two positions conflict with the responsibilities of other positions in the party,” the statement read.

However, Akram stated that Moosa’s comments were not made in his official capacity of the party interim chairperson but in his personal capacity.

“It’s his opinion. The party’s elections committee is doing their job in accordance with the party constitution. If the elections are to be delayed, we would need to go for a congress and make necessary amendments to pave way for that,” he said.

Akram also said that no decision has been made regarding Moosa’s remarks, and the election to elect party president and vice president are scheduled to take place on the announced date.

The positions were declared vacant last month after the MDP National Council almost unanimously voted (95 percent) to oust President Dr Ibrahim Didi and Vice President and MP Alhan Fahmy in a no-confidence motion.

The MDP stated that the motion was triggered after both Dr Didi and Fahmy made public statements contradicting the party’s position as established by a resolution passed on February 8, recognising that former President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet were ousted illegitimately in a coup d’état.

Ousted party president decides to switch ship

Ousted party president Dr Didi has appealed against the decision claiming that it was illegal, however the matter was dropped by the Elections Commission (EC). Dr Didi yesterday told the local media that he has decided to join another political party.

Didi said Nasheed had “kicked” him out of the position, the same thing he had done to two former presidents Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail and Dr Mohamed Munavvar.

MDP has earlier denied the claims that Nasheed had undue influence over the party.

Didi further alleged that Nasheed was been trying to bring in former Party Chairperson Mariya Ahmed Didi to the position of the party president, after removing him from the position.

“[The no confidence motion] was taken because Nasheed wanted to bring in Mariya for the position of party president. From the moment I realised that Nasheed had done the same to remove me from the position just like he did with the former party presidents, and when I realised that all the doors had been closed to work in a democratic means, I decided to join another party,” said Didi.

Didi did not mention which party he would be joining but stated that he would consider the national interest and would join a party “that works in the best interest of the nation and the people.”

“I haven’t decided which party yet. But I will decide after consulting with several people and will consider the national interest,” he said.

Didi however said that he would still file the matter in court and would submit it as soon as he acquired the necessary documents from the MDP.

Didi was not responding at the time of press.