The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has announced plans to intensify its activities aimed at strengthening support across the country in the wake of a decisive victory in the Malé City mayoral election on Saturday. MDP chairperson Fayyaz Ismail said the party is set to “upshift” its strategic focus towards amplifying party activities and galvanising support across the nation.

The MDP’s candidate, Adam Azim, secured a significant lead over the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) candidate, former Attorney General Aishath Azima Shakoor. Azim garnered 44.8 percent of the vote, while Shakoor trailed with 29.6 percent. Five candidates contested the mayoral election, which saw a notably low voter turnout, with only 31 percent of the eligible 54,680 voters participating.

This victory marks a pivotal moment for the MDP—its first major win in recent years. In light of this triumph, party officials will embark on a series of visits to various islands to enhance party activities and fortify support, Ismail announced.

This strategic move, described by Ismail as an “upshift in gears,” was announced during a Saturday night celebratory gathering at Sultan Park. The initial visits will be to Fuvahmulah and Addu cities, Ismail added.

Reflecting on the 2023 presidential election, where the MDP’s candidate, then-President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, was defeated by President Mohamed Muizzu of the PNC-led coalition, Ismail stated that the MDP has been closely monitoring the actions of the Muizzu government.

He characterised the mayoral election victory as a “new beginning” and a source of “new inspiration,” expressing the party’s ambition to secure a significant number of seats in the upcoming 2024 parliamentary election, slated for 17 March.

Azim’s win was a clear message from the residents of Malé to the Muizzu administration, reflecting their sentiment, Ismail interpreted. He also expressed confidence that the same support demonstrated for Azim would be evident in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.