The Democrats party, which was formed by break-away members of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has announced its intentions for the upcoming parliamentary elections slated for early 2024. During a press conference held on Sunday at H. Maizandhoshuge, the party’s interim chairman, Hassan Latheef, divulged the key resolutions passed by the interim council of The Democrats.

The party’s immediate focus is on the passage of a constitutional amendment, proposed by Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb, a senior member of The Democrats. The amendment seeks to cap the number of parliamentary seats at 76, revising Article 71 of the Constitution. This would entail electing members for 55 administrative constituencies, two members to represent individuals with special needs, and 11 members representing political parties based on vote percentile, including fixed seats for female MPs.

“The best time for a debate on the composition of the parliament is now, ahead of the upcoming elections,” stated Latheef, who is also the MP from Henveiru West constituency.

If the party’s endeavour to amend the Constitution does not materialise, Latheef confirmed that The Democrats will contest all 93 constituencies announced by the Elections Commission. This resolution was unanimously approved by the interim council, with the motion being moved by Mohamed Shifaz, a former MDP Vice President and current Interim Council member of The Democrats.

Latheef expressed concern that the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which currently holds the majority in the parliament, is not supportive of the amendment. This stance from MDP was particularly alarming for The Democrats, considering that the party had previously been open to changing the parliamentary composition.

“We are concerned that a party like the MDP does not support it now,” said Latheef, who is also a former chairperson of MDP. He added, “I hope they will change their decision, be it due to public feedback or pressures.”

The third key resolution involved The Democrats committing to formulating their own legislative agenda or bills to be submitted to parliament. Work on this front has reportedly already commenced.

The Democrats party was founded by members who left the Maldivian Democratic Party following disagreements that arose after the defeat of former President Mohamed Nasheed in the MDP’s presidential primary. As the party’s internal elections are yet to take place, an interim council currently manages its operations.