The Mohamed Muizzu administration no longer has the right to attribute its failures to the previous Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) led administration, MDP Chairperson Fayyaz Ismail has said.

“Every island seems to have had all projects stopped. [The current administration] took over saying [they] can do, [they] will do. Now there is no right to say the previous administration [it to blame]. [They] Took over, saying they will do everything. They have now dragged out a New Zealander to cover up their lies with more lies,” Ismail, the Minister of Economic Development during the Solih administration, said.

The MDP chair’s remarks came after a flurry of social media posts from senior administration officials criticised a social media video statement by MDP President Abdulla Shahid. In the statement made while at Raihmandoo Island in Meemu (M) Atoll, Shahid called out the current administration saying that they had stopped development projects on big and small islands alike. In response, several senior administration officials attributed the setback to actions taken by the Solih administration, during which Shahid served as Foreign Minister.

The current administration has been quick to place blame on the previous administration in the face of criticism and failure to quickly, and adequately, deliver on promises and enact popular policy — such actions had garnered public criticism of late, most likely leading to a political coopting of the sentiment by the opposition.

In its parliamentary election campaign, MDP has been criticising the current administration for “deceiving the public” rather than responding with clear political action.

Over the past few days, there have been heated exchanges between the MDP and administration officials on social media, with some officials going so far as to infer that the MDP ideology should be eliminated. At the same time, senior state figures have also been criticised by the public for failing to adhere to a level of discourse reflective of their position.

In a more recent tweet Ismail hinted that the verbal assaults are now giving way to physical intimidation.

“We are worried about the increase in intimidation, harassment & violence against our candidates/campaign teams ahead of the #Majlis2024 vote. This is an alarming sign of return to pre-2018 electoral context, which was dominated by state use of fear against political opponents.
Incidents of electoral violence in the past 48 hours alone:
– Gaaf Alif Villigili Constituency President Rauf mobbed
– Sitting MP and MDP Candidate @Dhonbiley[Ahmed Haleem] was attacked in Faafu Feeali
– Campaign material of Kolamaafushi Constituency Candidate Sayyah, censored
In addition several hundreds of MDP members terminated from Gov owned Companies in the last few months. #MisraabuHamaMagah #VoteMDP,” Ismail said in a post to social media.

Amid mounting tensions and electoral violence, political observers express concerns about a potential resurgence of the fear-driven political atmosphere that pervaded the country prior to 2018. They caution that such regression could undermine democratic integrity and exacerbate societal divisions, which have not fully healed since the presidential elections in September last year.