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280 candidates in MDP primaries

Primaries will be held to elect MDP candidates for 77 constituencies.



Some 280 candidates applied before Wednesday’s deadline to seek the Maldivian Democratic Party’s ticket to contest the April 6 parliamentary elections.

Only one candidate applied in nine out of the 87 constituencies and there were no candidates for the opposition-stronghold Faafu Nilandhoo constituency, the MDP announced.

Primaries will be held on January 18 to select the MDP’s candidates for the other 77 seats.

Former president Mohamed Nasheed, who is contesting for the newly-created Central Machchangaolhi constituency in the capital, along with several MDP leadership figures are among the primary candidates.

Of the 280 candidates, only 21 are female.

The candidates who secured tickets without a primary contest include Galolhu North MP Eva Abdulla, Maafannu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy and Alifushi MP Mohamed Rasheed Hussain.  The other uncontested constituencies were Haa Alif Hoarafushi, Haa Alif Baarah, Haa Alif Dhidhdhoo, Shaviyani Milandhoo, Alif Dhaal Mahibadhoo, and Fuvahmulah North.

More than 33,000 new members joined the MDP during the past two months, according to the party. Only those who were MDP members before December 7 will be eligible to vote in the primaries.

The future of the four-party ruling coalition was thrown into doubt with the MDP’s decision earlier this month to field candidates in all 87 constituencies.

The largest party in the coalition was accused of reneging on an agreement signed by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as the MDP candidate in July to contest 35 seats and back coalition candidates in other races.

According to an agreement leaked to the media, the MDP’s share of government posts and parliament seats would be 40 percent, followed by 25 percent to the Jumhooree Party, 20 percent to former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and 15 percent for the Adhaalath Party.

But the party insists there is no binding coalition agreement as the July deal was not signed by all four partners.

The purported coalition agreement was not made public before September’s presidential election, which was won handily by the MDP candidate with the backing of the coalition.

After failing to reach a compromise last month, the leaders of the four parties are due to meet with President Solih on Thursday to discuss a formula for jointly contesting the parliamentary polls.