Provisional results from Saturday’s ruling Maldivian Democratic Party elections point to two Adduans, Dr Ibrahim Didi and Alhan Fahmy, on the way to the two top posts of the party.
The latest “preliminary” results dated May 1 and posted on the MDP’s website show that former fisheries minister Dr Didi was leading with 9,048 votes for the post of party President, with 53 percent of votes. Special Envoy to the President, Ibrahim Hussein Zaki was showing as having obtained 7,546.
The post of Vice President seems more or less confirmed for MDP MP Alhan Fahmy who is leading with 10,171 votes. Transport Minister Mohamed Aslam who contested Fahmy got 5,985 votes and Hussain Adam 128 votes. The website says that “so far” 145 boxes have been counted, while 73 remain to be counted.
Though the MDP said it would try to announce the final results yesterday, some members have expressed discontent at the length of time being taken to announce the final results. Both Zaki and Aslam have conceded the results, according the MDP’s site.
Didi told a meeting of the MDP held last night at the Artificial Beach that he will immediately start the “homework” needed for President Nasheed to win in 2013. He praised Zaki for the graceful way he accepted defeat and Zaki in turn told the meeting that he will stay true to the party’s aspirations and that internal dissent “doesn’t mean internal rebellion”. The MDP will always stay united “in its lines”, Zaki said.
Alhan told the meeting that the party will now “speed ahead with full throttle” in getting to the destination envisioned by President Nasheed and that he will “win over 100,000 members” to the MDP. He praised Aslam for the graceful way he had also accepted defeat, and expressed his confidence in Aslam’s capabilities.
The election of two candidates from Addu, the only other region of Maldives with “city” status, will bring down the traditional Male’ supremacist attitudes which hinder a sense of social equality and have ultimately resulted in economic disparity.
“The Maldives’ ruling party being led by two Adduans should give out a strong message that this party is reform-minded and therefore will not tolerate intolerance and will strive towards national achievements based on merit, not on social status which does not necessarily come from merit,” an MDP official told Minivan News on condition of anonymity.
“Furthermore, this also demonstrates to the Maldivian people that this party’s ordinary members are still reform-minded Maldivians and we have a self-cleansing democratic mechanism within the party that will ensure that the party is never hijacked by scrupulous opportunists.”
There was discontent among ordinary members of the MDP, which accuse its senior members of being “badly out of touch once they got into the government.”
“Today’s results should herald as a wake-up call to senior MDP leaders that ordinary members will not tolerate corruption,” an MDP activist, who was arrested more than once along with President Mohamed Nasheed during the party’s protests as the opposition before 2008, told Minivan News on condition of anonymity. The activist was referring to alleged corruption cases involving Zaki, a former tourism minister and SAARC Secretary General.
“The government now seems more concerned with running big-budget projects attracted by the business community through opportunists like Zaki, rather than implementing socio-economic programs that address the root causes of youth violence which occur today. Two years later, we have yet to see a ‘halfway house’ and inmates in Maafushi Prison continue to suffer torture and subhuman conditions.
“That could have gone a long way to solving many of the pressing current issues like abuse and gangsterism,” she said, adding that, “I was surprised when the President openly endorsed Zaki. But then I realised that ironically the MDP leaders in the government had more pressing concerns than party issues in order to find short-term ‘fixes’ from international sources so that the government could survive each popular vote, and continue its national reform program.”
Prior to the elections President Mohamed Nasheed said that the elections would demonstrate to the Maldivian people “how political parties should perform in a democracy.”
Alhough some people have left the MDP, the President said that the “real members” of the party would not leave just to follow a “personality cult.”
The presidential jab was apparently at the current main opposition, the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), which has gone into disarray due to the return to active politics of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The move has resulted in the party splitting into two factions, one loyal to Gayoom and the other loyal to DRP leader Thasmeen Ali, who remains heavily in debt to the state and the target of corruption allegations. Gayoom’s “worst days” continue as he recently lost a landmark defamation suit launched against a Maldivian journalist.
DRP MP Ahmed Mahlouf has meanwhile criticised the MDP’s elections, stating there was a “poor” voter turn-out according to the results of the ballot boxes which have been announced so far, but an MDP official retorted that the “45,000 people who voted in favor of the MDP in the February Local Council Elections speaks for itself.”