The Democrats have announced that their internal primaries for the upcoming parliamentary elections will be held on 17 February. The decision was made at the inaugural meeting of the party’s National Assembly held at Billabong High School.

The meeting not only established the primary election date but also set forth specific eligibility requirements for congressional ticket aspirants. These conditions include being a registered party member by 4 February, meeting all candidate requirements as outlined in Article 73 of the Constitution and Article 8 of the Parliamentary Elections Act, and submitting a criminal and debt record clearance form.

The criteria reflect a broader trend among political parties to prioritise the electoral process over legislative qualifications for lawmakers, a practice that has been observed across multiple parties.

There is apparent neglect by political parties in incorporating legislative qualifications as a criterion for candidacy. This oversight points to a broader issue within the political system, where the focus seems to be more on electoral viability rather than the legal and legislative expertise required to effectively fulfil the responsibilities of a lawmaker.

This neglect has been evident among other major parties that are also preparing for their primaries. The main opposition MDP has scheduled its primary for 26 January, while the ruling PPM-PNC coalition has set 20 January 20 for its primaries. Additionally, the PNF, a new political party formed by former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom following his split from the ruling coalition, has already initiated its campaign for the parliamentary elections.