In a recent interview with Sangu TV, President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu shifted the focus towards the pressing issue of gender representation in the Maldives Parliament. He strongly advocated for increased female participation in the forthcoming elections, aligning with broader sentiments about the critical need for more balanced gender representation in the Maldives’ political sphere.

Muizzu is keen to elevate the number of women Members of Parliament (MPs) in the next parliamentary assembly. He has targeted at least one-third female representation, commenting, “I will work to see that more women contest the primaries. And to have them elected.” This comes as a significant point of emphasis, particularly considering there are only four female MPs in the current 87-member legislative body.

The President-elect’s focus on gender representation is echoed by findings from the Commonwealth Observer Mission’s report on the 2019 parliamentary elections. Though not directly related to Muizzu’s comments, the report revealed a low rate of women’s political participation in the Maldives, as well as multiple barriers that restrict women’s active involvement in politics. These barriers include socio-cultural norms, economic disadvantages, and a technical knowledge gap in areas such as campaigning and public speaking.

The Commonwealth Observer Mission following the 2019 parliamentary elections recommended that political parties facilitate more opportunities for women to run for elected posts and be fielded as candidates. 

The current parliament consists solely of members from the Maldivian Democratic Party, including Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla, who recently hopped to the newly formed ‘The Democrats’ party. No female candidates from Muizzu’s alliance of PPM-PNC were able to secure a seat in the current makeup.