Two members of the Malé City Council, Mariyam Reehan Nazim of South Galolhu and Aishath Nizlee Rasheed of North Henveyru, have declared their allegiance to the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC). This announcement was made public during the campaign manifesto launch event of the PNC’s mayoral candidate Aishath Azima Shakoor, held on Friday evening.

Previously affiliated with the Democrats and the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), respectively, Nazim and Rasheed submitted their membership forms to the party leader, President Mohamed Muizzu, thereby formalising their transition to the ruling party.

This move has resulted in an increase in the number of seats held by the ruling coalition, comprising the PNC and the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), in the Malé City Council, bringing the total to ten. Nazim and Rasheed will be the sole representatives of the PNC in the city council, with the remaining eight seats being held by the PPM.

The opposition within the city council is now solely represented by North Galolhu council member Mohamed Saif Fathih, who is affiliated with the Democrats, and West Maafannu council member Mohamed Areesh from the MDP. Fathih is currently contesting for the mayor’s seat in the upcoming by-election.

The recent defections of Nazim and Rasheed are part of a larger trend, following the defection of thirteen parliamentarians from the opposition MDP to the ruling PNC just a week prior. This has bolstered the PNC’s position in the parliament, elevating them to the status of the minority party with a total representation of 15 MPs and concurrently reducing the MDP’s representation from 56 to 43 members.