Voting has commenced in the Parliamentary primaries of the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC)/ Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) coalition. The start of the voting process follows a tumultuous period marked by internal discord and strife, all triggered by a contentious decision made by the coalition’s leadership to exclude certain candidates from the parliamentary primaries.

The decision to exclude specific candidates initially led to significant backlash within the party ranks and sparked a verbal confrontation at the party headquarters in Malé. The situation escalated as accusations against the PPM-PNC leadership mounted. In response to mounting pressure, the coalition’s leadership, under the stewardship of President Mohamed Muizzu, took the decision to reverse their initial stance. This reversal now allows all interested candidates to participate in the primaries.

Voting is taking place for 73 constituencies, with a total of 283 candidates vying for positions. The number of eligible voters stands at 71,597.

For residents of Malé City voting in island constituencies, ballot boxes have been placed at the Henveiru Stadium. Additionally, ballot boxes for Male’ residents are available at Kalaafaanu School, Jamaluddeen School, Thaajuddeen School, Villimale’ Youth Centre, Kamil Didi School, and Rehendhi School.

Thirteen candidates have already secured uncontested People’s National Congress (PNC) nominations for the forthcoming 2024 parliamentary elections. These candidates, including both incumbent lawmakers and political newcomers, were the sole applicants for the parliamentary primaries in their respective constituencies.

Notable among the candidates who have secured the PNC ticket is Abdul Raheem Abdulla, a close confidant of President Mohamed Muizzu, who concurrently serves as the chairperson of the PNC and the Special Advisor at the President’s Office. 

Other prominent candidates include Ahmed Saleem, the incumbent Member of Parliament for Eydhafushi, and Ahmed Thariq, the sitting MP for Mahibadhoo. Fathimath Sauda, a sibling of President Muizzu, also secured the party ticket, facing no opposition in the primaries.

The Ruling Coalition earlier announced its decision not to contest for three constituencies currently held by leaders of its coalition partners. These constituencies include Dangethi, contested by Maldives National Party (MNP) leader, retired Colonel Mohamed Nazim; Dh. Meedhoo, where sitting MP and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) leader Ahmed Siyam Mohamed will seek re-election; and Maamigili, where sitting MP and Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim will seek re-election.