Hassan Ahmed, the Member of Parliament for Inguraidhoo, has announced his departure from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to join the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC).

Ahmed, better known as Hassantey, has been a stalwart of the MDP, playing a pivotal role in the party’s reform campaign. His announcement on X (formerly Twitter) was accompanied by an image of him submitting his membership form to PNC leader, President Mohamed Muizzu.

Ahmed pledged his allegiance to the PNC and its leader in his post, stating, “From today onwards, I have decided to go forward with President Mohamed Muizzu. I assure you that I will stand with the PNC with honesty and sincerity.”

Local media outlets have reported that Ahmed intends to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections for the Inguraidhoo constituency. Ahmed’s departure from the MDP marks the end of a long-standing affiliation with the party, where he was among the very first members.

The addition of Ahmed to the PNC ranks has bolstered the ruling coalition’s representation in parliament, increasing the number of seats to 18. As a result, the MDP’s representation in parliament has now dropped to 42.

Ahmed’s move is part of a larger trend, as he has become the 14th lawmaker to switch sides with the ruling party since the new PNC-led government assumed power in November 2023. These defections, including those of 12 other MDP lawmakers and an independent lawmaker elected to parliament on an MDP ticket, have been marred by allegations of bribery and intimidation.

These political shifts have occurred amid rumours of the potential impeachment of President Mohamed Muizzu. The parliament recently endorsed a series of amendments to the parliamentary rules of procedure, theoretically simplifying the impeachment process of the nation’s president and vice president. However, the MDP has dismissed allegations of any impeachment plans against Muizzu.

Despite these defections, the MDP remains confident in its ability to retain a majority in parliament. The party leadership has asserted that it is actively working to maintain unity among the remaining members.