MDP to resume campaigning for “few thousand extra votes” needed for second round win
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate, former President Mohamed Nasheed has stated that the party has resumed campaign activities on Sunday (September 8 ) to gather “the few thousand additional votes” needed to guarantee a win in the second round of the election scheduled for September 28.
“My first obligation, of course, is to thank every single Maldivian for participating in yesterday’s democratic election,” the candidate leading Saturday’s poll began.
Speaking to the press at his residence Kenereege for the first time since Saturday’s election, Nasheed stated that he did not believe anyone could describe the party’s total 45.45 percent of votes as “failing in the first round”.
“After three years of government we have received an overwhelming majority of over 95,000 votes. That is far, far more than, for instance, Gayoom managed to do after 30 years in government. And of course, Dr Waheed, after two years in government has failed so, so badly,” Nasheed said, referring to the incumbent’s 5.13 percent support in the first round.
“The election held yesterday was very well organised by the Elections Commission (EC). There were a few concerning issues about some ballot boxes. We believe that in some of the ballot boxes the voter turnout is much higher than the electoral list, and we would like the Elections Commission to explain these irregularities and discrepancies to us,” Nasheed said.
“As I see it, many Maldivians have voted for the MDP: over 95,000 citizens came out and voted in support of having our policies implemented. However, these 95,000 votes are still two or three thousand short of what we needed to win the election in a single round,” Nasheed claimed.
“Our discussions are now about what needs to be done to gain these two to three thousand additional votes that we need. There are things that this party knows for certain: as in, we know that, God willing, we will succeed if we put in hard work and maximum effort,” Nasheed said, adding that the party will hold a rally to initiate campaign efforts tonight.
“Many renowned and capable individuals in the Maldives who used to support or work for other political parties called me last night. I am speaking about many individuals from the Jumhoree Party (JP), Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP). What I have to tell them all is that MDP has development in its heart, we have no other objective. All persons are welcome to join us,” Nasheed said. He added that this included former ministers, as well as members of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s family.
“One of the biggest realities that has come to light due to the results of this election is that the citizens of the Maldives want an MDP government, they want good governance. Another reality that came to light from the results is that my former Vice President, ‘baaghee’ (traitor) Mohamed Waheed Hassan has no support at all, and that activities like [his] have no support in the country.”
“I still believe that it will be detrimental to the country’s development if we are to split up the cabinet to various parties,” Nasheed said, when asked if he planned to form alliances with other political parties for the second round.
He added that any individuals are welcome to work with the party to contribute to the development plans included in the party’s “Costed and Budgeted” manifesto.
“Some parties were creating a lot of deception under the pretence of speaking about Islam. I hope that these people will stop working in this manner. I believe that a small number of citizens get confused by these deceptive messages, but my hope is that in the next two weeks or so, they too will come to see the reality,” Nasheed responded, when asked what he felt could be the cause of failing – with such a narrow margin – to win the election in the first round itself.
“We will respect Islam and uphold its values. We will not place religion in trays and peddle it out like them,” said Nasheed.
“What the international community now needs to understand is, despite what is written in the CONI (Commission of National Inquiry) report, MDP is the party that has the largest support base in the Maldives,” Nasheed stated.
“Unfortunately, the party which is ideologically closest to MDP has not been able to make much of a show in this election because of how they were led to work with Dr Waheed. I sometimes feel this is the work of the international community, who pushed the DRP towards Waheed, because they have been engaged in the politics of this country very heavily,” Nasheed alleged.
“They have always wanted Dr Waheed to come out with a better showing. And they have edged and shoved certain political groups in this country towards Dr Waheed,” Nasheed continued.
“I honestly hope that they will understand the realities of this country, and that they backed the wrong horse,” Nasheed said.
After narrowly finishing third during yesterday’s election with 24.07 percent of the vote, the Jumhoree Party (JP) said it had not yet decided on how it would approach a second round of voting. Despite coming third by just over a percent, the party said no decision had been taken over whether it would contest the provisional result.
“We need to consult the various party councils on how we will stand,” said JP Policy Secretary Mohamed Ajmal.
After a group of around 15 JP supporters demonstrated outside the Dharubaruge convention centre early on Sunday after of the Elections Commission (EC) unveiled the provisional election results, Ajmal said the party had not yet decided to contest the validity of the counting.
“We have raised some concerns with the EC about the voting process, but have not said we will contest [the poll],” he said. “We have alerted [the EC] of our concerns and they are gradually coming up with responses to them.”
According to Ajmal, the party has raised several concerns about how polling was conducted by the EC yesterday, including instances where certain individuals had reportedly been barred from voting, and cases of other people finding ballots already cast under their name.
EC President Fuwad Thowfeek today dismissed allegations of improper conduct during voting, but said the commission’s complaints department would investigate any reported irregularities.
Meanwhile, President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s campaign team said the incumbent would not be putting out a statement regarding his own intentions after Saturday’s result. A statement was expected later this week, according to a source in his team.
The Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) confirmed that senior officials including presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen and his running mate Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed had met in Male’ shortly after ballot counting had to discuss their second round plans.
MP Ahmed Nihan said at the time that the party had looked to meet with potential allies, including President Waheed and Gasim Ibrahim ahead of the second round, confirming that every other candidate who stood in the election against Nasheed would be invited “to be on-board” in the run-off.
MP Nihan and vice presidential candidate Dr Jameel were not responding to calls at time of press.