Thirteen candidates have secured uncontested People’s National Congress (PNC) nominations for the forthcoming 2024 parliamentary elections. These individuals, including incumbent lawmakers and political novices, were the sole applicants for the parliamentary primaries in their respective constituencies.

Among the candidates who have secured the PNC ticket is Abdul Raheem Abdulla, a close confidant of President Mohamed Muizzu, who concurrently serves as the chairperson of the PNC and the Special Advisor at the President’s Office. Other notable candidates include Ahmed Saleem, the incumbent Member of Parliament for Eydhafushi, and Ahmed Thariq, the sitting MP for Mahibadhoo. Fathimath Sauda, a sibling of President Muizzu, also secured the party ticket, facing no opposition in the primaries.

The PNC’s parliamentary primaries are slated for January 27. Earlier this week, the party was rocked by internal discord following a decision by the party leadership to exclude specific candidates from the primaries, alleging that these individuals had not acted in the party’s best interests.

This decision led to verbal confrontations at the party headquarters in Malé, as some candidates voiced their concerns. Following the outcry from the excluded candidates and their supporters, the party reversed its decision, allowing all members to contest in the primaries.

In response to the initial refusal to allow them to contest the party primaries, some candidates decided to run as independent candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections. This move followed the submission of resignation letters by some candidates and their supporters, formally requesting their removal as party members. The party has yet to comment on the matter.

One such independent candidate is businessman Hassan Shiyam, who submitted his name to contest in the primaries for the Central Henveyru constituency and has since launched his campaign. Another is Abdul Rahman, who serves as the president of the PNC-Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) coalition in the Meedhoo Constituency, Addu City. These candidates are contesting the parliamentary elections as independent candidates, despite the PNC leadership’s decision to reverse its initial exclusion.

In a related development, the PNC has reportedly chosen not to field candidates for three constituencies in the parliamentary elections. Leaders of various political parties presently represent these constituencies. The news has not yet been officially confirmed by the PNC.

The constituencies under consideration include the Maamigili seat, held by Jumhooree Party (JP) leader MP Qasim Ibrahim; the Dhangethi constituency, represented by Maldives National Party (MNP) leader MP Mohamed Nazim; and the Meedhoo constituency, currently filled by Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) leader MP Ahmed Siyam Mohamed.

While MP Qasim and MP Mohamed are looking to retain their parliamentary seats, MP Nazim has set his sights on the North Maafannu seat. This seat is currently held by MP Imthiyaz Fahmy, a representative of the Democrats, a splinter faction that emerged from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).