Voters from the ruling coalition of the People’s National Congress (PNC) and the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) favoured experience over youth in Saturday’s primaries, handing party tickets to several former legislators for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The PPM-PNC coalition’s parliamentary primaries witnessed the participation of 283 candidates contesting for 73 constituencies. The coalition reported that 71,597 members were eligible to vote in the primaries.

However, the voting process, which spanned from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., was overshadowed by internal tensions and disagreements. These stemmed from discrepancies in the electoral rolls and a contentious decision by the coalition’s leadership to disqualify specific candidates on the eve of the parliamentary primaries.

Among the seasoned legislators who emerged victorious in the primaries are Ahmed Nazim, former Dhiggaru MP; Mohamed Ismail, former Hoarafushi MP; Saudullah Hilmy, former North Thinadhoo MP; Ibrahim Rifau, former South Maafannu MP; Ibrahim Didi, former South Feydhoo MP; Abdul Latheef Mohamed, former Dhihdhoo MP; Ibrahim Falah, former Inguraidhoo MP; Asma Rasheed, for Central Maafannu MP; Ali Fazadh, former Central Fuvahmulah MP; and Hussain Mufeedh Abdul Ghadhir, former Milandhoo MP.

These candidates had previously contested for seats in the 19th Parliament but were unsuccessful. Of these former lawmakers, Mohamed Ismail is competing in the Villimalé constituency, while Rasheed was the only female candidate who secured a win in the primaries.

Meanwhile, other notable candidates who did not secure a win in Saturday’s primaries include former lawmakers Anara Naeem and Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, in addition to Dunya Maumoon, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs under the Abdulla Yameen administration.

Maumoon, who also served as the State Minister for Health and is the daughter of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, contested for the South Hulhumalé seat and lost. She recently transitioned to the ruling coalition from the Maldives National Party (MNP), where she served as Vice President.

Naeem, who served as the lawmaker for Makunudhoo in the 18th parliament, contested the Huraa constituency. She was elected to the 18th parliament with the ticket of the Adhaalath Party and remains the only candidate for the party to have won a seat in any parliamentary election. She later defected to the ruling PNC.

Ibrahim, the former lawmaker for the Thulusdhoo constituency, contested the parliamentary primaries for the same seat but was unsuccessful. He represented Thulusdhoo in the 18th parliament.