The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and former President Mohamed Nasheed seemed poised for a big win in Saturday’s parliamentary elections, provisional results indicated.
According to local media reports, based on updates from the counting centres, the MDP was likely to secure nearly 60 out of the 87 seats at the people’s Majlis or Parliament, signalling the party’s consolidation of power in the legislature, six months after it led a coalition to victory in the presidential poll.
Speaking at a late-night rally at the sea front in capital Male, President Solih said the work “to strengthen our democratic institutions, to deliver basic services for citizens, to our promise of bringing corruption, past and present to book and ending impunity starts now,” reminding supporters of “immense challenges” as they celebrated the landslide win.
Even as he congratulated winners from his MDP, Mr. Solih said: “Many of our coalition partners in the government were contenders in this election- some were our opponents. I assure the people, as I’ve done time and again, the coalition remains intact.”
After the MDP decided to go it alone in the general elections, other parties that are part of the ruling alliance were said to be unhappy. They saw the MDP as reneging on an earlier pledged to stay together for the parliamentary polls. However, President Solih is widely credited with holding the coalition together despite growing differences.
Nasheed makes comeback
Winning a seat in capital Male, ex-President Nasheed made a comeback to active politics after years of exile due to a widely-disputed criminal conviction when Abdulla Yameen was in power. “This marks the end of the era of Rolex watches and diamond rings,” he said at the rally, referring to Mr. Yameen’s allegedly corrupt administration.
A majority in parliament enables the MDP to possibly implement its promised reform agenda, in the wake of recent resistance from some coalition partners to its proposals. In February, Speaker Gasim Ibrahim, who leads coalition partner Jumhooree Party, refused to call a vote on a bill granting legal powers to presidential commissions tasked with recovering stolen assets and probing unresolved murders.
A nearly 80% voter turn out has been recorded in Saturday’s polls. Full results are likely to be declared later Sunday.