The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on Monday unveiled its manifesto for the 2023 Presidential Elections at a campaign event held in Kudahuvadhoo, Dhaalu Atoll.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who is running for a second term, unveiled the five-part manifesto that includes happy living, a peaceful society, a new generation of youth, revolutionising the economy, and ensuring good governance.

Monday’s event witnessed the unveiling of the first part – “happy living.” It was presented by sociologist Dr Aishath Shafeena, who stated that the manifesto was developed through close consultations with the community and technical experts in various fields.

“MDP travelled to all islands and listened to what the people had to say. This manifesto was formulated after considering the concerns of all citizens,” she said.

She emphasised that the policies under “happy living” are based on three core values: a healthy and close-knit community, a productive and self-sufficient generation, and compassionate and engaged citizens.

While the manifesto included futuristic pledges like the introduction of drone technology to transport medical samples, the most significant revelation was the introduction of a policy to pardon student debt and facilitate easy repayment of student loans.

Dr Shafeena mentioned: “We will increase the grace period for loan repayment and ensure students are employed before repayment is enforced.”

She also announced that the current free tertiary education program would be revised to include certificate level 1 courses within the framework.

Other pledges contained in the policy include:

  • Establishment of a national biomedical equipment centre
  • Regulation of the fitness industry in line with international standards
  • Introduction of motorcycle paramedics
  • Improvement of drug rehabilitation treatment and establishment of three regional recovery villages
  • Establishment of a specialised bank for housing financing
  • Regulation of the real estate market
  • Introduction of “council housing”
  • Enactment of a law on alms and control of the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage costs

The manifesto also included seeking funding via the UK’s public broadcaster BBC to produce modern content for advancing the Maldivian language.

MDP is the first party to formally reveal its electoral manifesto. With the elections scheduled for September 9, 2023, candidates are gradually beginning to formalise their pledges through achievable roadmaps.