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Maldives: Growing Concerns over Political Instability


Mohammad Nasheed: Courtesy The Democrats X Channel

Stage is set for political instability in Maldives as the second round of the Presidential polls may be marred by the demand by the Democrats for holding a referendum for change over to the parliamentary system before the run off on September 30th.


The Democrats, a breakaway party from MDP led by speaker Mohammed Nasheed is set to be a kingmaker as it was placed third, with 7.18 percent of votes becoming the Party to form a coalition for the runoff.


Maldives Democratic Party [MDP] candidate incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih secured 39 per cent of the votes in the first round held on September 9th, placing him second.


The most votes were gained by the opposition PPM-PNC coalition's candidate, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu with 46 percent of the votes.


Other candidates won marginal votes of 2 % and below.


As support of the Democrats is essential for a candidate to win the polls, the newly launched party under the wily speakder of the parliament Mohammad Nasheed is dictating terms for a coalition with ruling MDP, which are separate for the two parties.


For the MDP, an agreement to hold a constitutional referendum before September 28th is a pre-condition. The opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) needs to sign a document which specifies the share of The Democrats in forming a government.


MDP's Chairperson, Fayyaz Ismail, said the Party has informed The Democrats of the Party's agreement to hold a constitutional referendum after this year's presidential elections.


President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in turn has stated that he will instruct Elections Commission (EC) to hold a constitutional referendum before October 30 prior to runoff of the presidential election, if the parliament passes the resolution calling for the same as per Sun Online.


“If the parliament approves to hold a constitutional referendum within a certain timeframe after the presidential election, I can request Elections Commission to hold one before the voting in the runoff,” he said.


The EC has asked for at least 30 days preparatory time to prepare for the referendum.

A majority of three fourths is required for passing the resolution for referendum in the parliament.


In case the same is passed, which is doubtful as many members are opposed to the parliamentary system, the ball will be in the court of the EC which can negate holding a referendum before 30 September the day scheduled for second round run off.


The Democrats led by Speaker Mohammad Nasheed are likely to launch protests either way unless their demand is met. Thus a period of political stability even if the Presidential polls are held as scheduled can be anticipated.


Background


The presidential polls in Maldives - the atoll nation a much sought after area of influence in the Indian Ocean Region by regional competitors - India and China- were entering the cliff's edge, so to say, as the second round runoff will take place on September 30th. [Corrected from Original]


With no candidate winning 50 per cent of the votes in the first round, all eyes are now on the two who had the largest vote share in the first. Maldives Democratic Party [MDP] candidate incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih secured 39 per cent of the votes in the first round held on September 9th, placing him second.


The most votes were gained by the opposition PPM-PNC coalition's candidate, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu with 46 percent of the votes.




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