As the Maldives prepares for its upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for March or April next year, political parties are strategising to seize control of the legislative assembly.

Both the outgoing ruling party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), and the incoming coalition comprising the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), the People’s National Congress (PNC), along with their new partner the Maldives National Party (MNP) have announced their intentions to contest all seats in the elections.

MNP, which garnered a mere 1,907 votes in the recent presidential election, has formalised its alliance with the PPM-PNC coalition, according to MNP’s leader Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim. 

During a recent MNP council meeting, Nazim clarified the party’s coalition agreement, stating that the three parties would be contesting all upcoming elections together, including parliamentary primaries. Nazim, who represents the Dhangethi constituency, further emphasised that MNP candidates could potentially win seats by contesting the primaries.

This alliance could serve to fortify the coalition’s parliamentary aspirations. At present, the PPM/PNC coalition, along with its MNP alliance, holds 12 parliamentary seats, comprised of five from the PPM, four from the PNC, and three from the MNP. The coalition aims to capitalise on their recent presidential election victory and acquire a significant share of the parliamentary seats.

Despite losing the presidential election, MDP continues to hold the majority in Parliament with 56 seats, albeit reduced from its initial 65 after some members defected to the newly formed ‘The Democrats’ party. The MDP is recalibrating its strategy as it prepares to take on a new role as the opposition party. It has started appointing members to chair parliamentary committees to hold the government accountable.

The upcoming parliamentary elections will also introduce a change in the number of seats. Six new seats are to be added due to increase in populations of some constituencies, raising the total from the current 87 to 93. This presents an opportunity for both the ruling and opposition parties to broaden their representation in Parliament.

With the MDP intending to hold the new government accountable through its majority, and the PPM-PNC-MNP coalition looking to gain more legislative influence, the stage is set for a potentially heated political battle. 

The Elections Commission has announced that the by-election to pick the Male’ City mayor will be held before 17 January, serving as a precursor to the much-anticipated parliamentary elections.