The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) is confident of winning “a clear majority” of seats from atoll and island councils in Saturday’s local government elections, Deputy Leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla declared yesterday.
Speaking to press at the party’s office, the MP for Laamu Fonadhoo said former President Mohamed Nasheed’s claim on Saturday night that the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) would win a majority of seats was “worrying” as provisional results have not been announced yet.
Despite the MDP retaining control of the Malé and Addu city councils, preliminary results show that the PPM-led coalition has won 38 atoll council seats to the MDP’s 28 seats, Abdul Raheem noted.
Candidates from the ‘Progressive Coalition’ have also won 337 island council seats, he added.
Abdul Raheem suggested that government-aligned parties lost out in some constituencies with strong support as a result of inadequate campaigning.
“This happened because the local council election came not long after we assumed government after the presidential election. So we weren’t able to put in an adequate effort,” he said.
Voters considered family connections more than party affiliation in choosing candidates, Abdul Raheem said, contending that the results would therefore not be reflected in the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for March 22.
The PPM MP went on to condemn former President Nasheed’s threats to impeach President Abdulla Yameen should the MDP win a two-thirds majority of the People’s Majlis.
Speaking to press on Saturday night, Nasheed suggested that the local council elections indicated the MDP would win a majority of parliamentary seats.
“I believe Maldivians want an MDP majority in the country, and an MDP government in the country. The laws state two methods for changing a government. That is through an election or through a no-confidence vote followed by an election. If the Maldivian citizens give us a majority in parliament, then we will be forced to take that no confidence vote,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Nasheed told reporters that the MDP suspected electoral fraud using fake national identity cards in the presidential election.
Abdul Raheem meanwhile condemned Nasheed’s remarks and accused the former president of attempting to incite unrest and turmoil.
The PPM did not believe that the public would give the opposition party enough parliamentary seats to impeach the president, he said.
Despite differences of opinion among coalition parties, Abdul Raheem insisted that the ruling coalition was “strong and united”.
Referring to Nasheed’s remarks conceding the presidential election on November 16, Abdul Raheem said a responsible opposition party would not seek to change the government.
“We have half the country behind us. And therefore I wouldn’t see many challenges for us to face the next local council elections and the parliamentary elections. So we should be doing that,” Nasheed had said in the wake of the MDP’s narrow presidential election defeat.
“One thing we should not contemplate would be to overthrow the government by street action or by direct action. We must adhere to democratic principles.”