Key political parties are actively preparing for their parliamentary primaries, with recent announcements indicating adjustments in their scheduled dates.

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) coalition, currently in power, has proposed postponing its primaries from the initially planned date of 20 January to 27 January. This change, still pending approval from the parties’ joint senate, marks the second rescheduling of the primaries, initially slated for December.

The rationale behind this postponement is to provide candidates with additional campaigning time, according to the coalition. It also noted that candidate finalisation for certain constituencies remains pending, along with the completion of voter lists.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has pushed back its primaries to 3 February, a slight shift from the previously scheduled dates of January 26-27. This adjustment follows the party’s recent success in the Malé City mayoral election and its announcement to intensify nationwide support. 

The MDP, despite facing defections of 12 members to the ruling PNC, still holds a majority with 43 seats in the 87-member parliament. The party has already awarded tickets to 46 candidates, including several incumbents, as they are sole contenders in their respective constituencies. 

Chairperson Fayyaz Ismail emphasised the party’s strategic focus on amplifying activities and maintaining its role as a responsible opposition.

The Democrats, the newest political entity, have scheduled their internal primaries for 17 February. This decision, made at the inaugural meeting of the party’s National Assembly, also introduced specific eligibility criteria for aspirants, including party membership registration by 4 February and adherence to constitutional and parliamentary election act requirements.

This flurry of activity and scheduling adjustments among the major political parties—PPM-PNC, MDP, and the Democrats—underscores the dynamism of Maldivian politics. However, observers say there appears to be a trend of prioritising electoral process criteria over legislative qualifications for lawmakers. This approach, evident across multiple parties, points to an increasing focus on electoral viability rather than the legal and legislative expertise essential for effective lawmaking.