Parliamentary representative for Central Henveiru, Ali Azim, has been elected to spearhead the Democrats, a nascent political entity formed by dissenting members of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Previously serving as a key legislator for MDP, Azim received unanimous backing from the 11 MPs participating in the vote to become the Democrats’ leader in Parliament.

Ahmed Zahir, representing Gadhdhoo constituency, and Ibrahim Rasheed (Bonde), the MP for Central Maafannu, were appointed as deputy-leaders of the parliamentary group. Mohamed Waheed (Wadde), the MP for Ungoofaaru, took on the role of secretary-general, while Mohamed Rasheed, who represents North Mahchangolhi, was selected as the group’s whip.

Ali Azim’s separation from the MDP in May acted as the catalyst for a group of MPs, who were aligned with Mohamed Nasheed, then leader of the MDP, to splinter off and establish the Democrats. Nasheed subsequently stepped down from the MDP in June and formally joined the Democrats a month later.

Currently holding minority status within Parliament, the Democrats have positioned Ali Azim as the legislative chamber’s new minority leader. 

The party’s recent performance placing third in the first round of the Presidential Elections has increased the party’s political capital, making it a much-coveted ally for MDP and the main opposing faction, PPM-PNC, as they prepare for a runoff later this month.