Seven independent MPs who were victorious in Sunday’s parliamentary elections have joined the People’s National Congress (PNC), further cementing the ruling party’s commanding supermajority in the new parliament. This jump on the PNC bandwagon was formalised during a ceremony at Muliaage, the President’s residence, overseen by President Dr Mohamed Muizzu and several cabinet ministers.

The independents, previously unaffiliated with PNC but largely supported by the government during their electoral campaigns, have further solidified the party’s grip on parliament, increasing its seats to an overwhelming 73 out of 93. The composition further strengthens with the inclusion of allied parties, totalling 77 pro-government MPs.

The switch in allegiance of Huraa Constituency MP-elect Dr Anara Naeem and six fellow MPs-elect—Hassan Zareer, Ahmed Zameer, Ahmed Riyaz, Yaseen Abdulla, Azim Abdul Azeez, and Mohamed Rasheed—underscores PNC’s strategic power consolidation, despite potential conflicts arising from the newly ratified Anti-Defection Bill and existing constitutional safeguards.

Vice President of the Elections Commission, Ismail Habeeb, clarified that such party affiliations could be altered before the next parliamentary session without the risk of disqualification under Article 73(c) of the Maldives Constitution. He assured that recent legislative amendments permit this realignment, giving political stability ahead of the incoming parliamentary term.

This shift has sparked debate over the constitutional implications and the integrity of electoral mandates, as critics argue that it might undermine voter autonomy and the democratic process. Concerns are particularly pronounced regarding the extension of the Anti-Defection Bill which allows MPs pre-session party switches, potentially at odds with the constitutional directive that elected representatives maintain consistent affiliations reflective of their electoral commitments.