Both candidates vying for the presidency of The Democrats have declared themselves winners of the party’s first-ever internal elections. The two candidates, Hussain Amr and MP for West Henveiru Hassan Latheef, made their declarations despite the party not having announced the preliminary results of the vote held on 2 December.

Amr, the former Managing Director of the State Trading Organisation (STO) during the administration of ex-President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and Latheef, the interim chairman of The Democrats and a close ally of former President Mohamed Nasheed, are both claiming victory.

The voting process took place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. However, the delay in announcing the preliminary results has raised concerns among party members and sparked accusations of potential vote rigging.

Latheef stated on X, formerly Twitter, “After counting the votes, it looks like I’ve won by a lot. We conducted an important political exercise across the country today. Now, it’s time to get down to business. Congratulations to all our members.”

On the other hand, reports indicate that Amr declared himself the winner based on the votes counted. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the voting process, alleging inappropriate use of the party office for campaigning against him.

The Democrats —formed by a breakaway faction of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)—reported that 5,835 members could vote in the party election. Given the relatively small number of eligible voters, the delay in announcing the results has led to increased concerns, particularly among Amr’s supporters.

In response to these accusations, the party’s head of elections, Central Henveiru MP Ali Azim, stated that the delay was due to the party’s commitment to ensuring transparency and preventing vote rigging. Azim revealed that the elections committee received 16 complaints about the voting process, two of which were significant issues. One of these issues was that voting was carried out at a location not previously announced.

Azim, a former member of the MDP and the now-dissolved Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), stated, “We’re taking some time because we’re looking into the complaints. We’ll announce the early results after that. I won’t let any mistakes or vote rigging happen while I’m in charge.” He added, “After counting the votes, we announced the results at each polling station. So, it’s wrong to say that we haven’t announced the early results yet.” 

The outcome of this internal election within The Democrats remains uncertain, and the party’s members and supporters eagerly await the official announcement of the results.