Hussain Amr, the vice-presidential running mate to The Democrats’ presidential candidate Ilyas Labeeb, indicated that the upstart, breakaway, political party had been an effective thorn in the side of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) by preventing a first-round victory for the incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Amr championed the number of votes gained by his party, one that was just over three months old, touting that the Democrats had ‘defeated’ the ruling MDP – by successfully blocking their chances at a first-round victory.

According to the provisional results of the presidential election as it currently stands, The Democrats’ ticket received in excess of 15,000, or seven percent, of votes coming in third to MDP candidate Solih’s second and the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) endorsed People’s National Congress (PN) candidate Mohamed Muizzu’s first. The Democrats neatly edged out Umar Naseer, their closest and fourth place contender, who had just over 6,300 votes. While Naseer, an independent, placed fourth in the contest, the candidates of parties with a longer political history, Qasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Party (JP) and Mohamed Nazim’s Maldives National Party (MNP), came in fifth and seventh respectively.

Speaking at a celebratory supper event held after the provisional election results, and underscoring the effectiveness of their campaign, Amr said the party’s campaign was especially effective across the island constituencies because of the connections the campaign teams have been able to build with those communities.

“We have formed a political party and defeated an entire state [mechanism] with a campaign in [just] three months, so we thank you profusely,” Amr said.

Presidential candidate Illyas Labeeb also praised his campaign team as being ‘very strong’ while also hyping the party’s third place finish as just the beginning.

“We cannot slow down, we cannot change direction. We will go straight ahead,” Labeeb said.

The Democrats have not officially declared support for either of the top two candidates nor have they made an official indication of forming a coalition as the nation heads towards the second round run-off. While Labeeb has said he is ready to hold talks with the MDP and PPM/PNC, the founder of his party, Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, had previously extended an olive branch to PPM/PNC with calls to release former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom from his ‘unjust’ jail sentence, while also forcefully reiterating that he would ‘disband’ the MDP.

Meanwhile, post first round of voting, MDP has withdrawn the ‘no confidence’ motion submitted to Parliament against Nasheed, and Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla who is also amongst The Democrats.

“It is because this has stalled the work of the parliament, and the party MPs see fit to give the work of the parliament a chance instead of furthering this war [chaos],” Solih’s running mate and sitting MP Mohamed Aslam reasoned, while speaking to local media.

When asked, Aslam dismissed the notion that his party’s about-face was an attempt to garner Nasheed’s support for the run-off.

“No, no. Not at all. President Nasheed’s support will be important. But that is not why the case was brought back. Just because we want to continue the important work of the parliament,” Aslam said.

The Democrats, founded on 21 May of this year, was formed by a breakaway faction of the MDP.