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After backlash, Nasheed assures primaries for MDP ticket

There was a backlash to awarding tickets to a dozen unseated lawmakers.



The Maldivian Democratic Party should have primaries to elect its parliamentary candidates, former president Mohamed Nasheed declared Tuesday, after a public backlash to awarding tickets to a dozen unseated lawmakers.

Following a meeting with the MDP leader on Monday, some of the recently reinstated former ruling party lawmakers told the press they have been assured coalition tickets for the March 2019 elections.

All four partners of the MDP-led coalition have agreed to support their candidacies, former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom tweeted.

The news sparked an outcry on social media with many supporters denouncing the move as undemocratic.

“Internal democracy is very important for running MDP. Very few political parties in the world hold primaries to give tickets for parliament seats. MDP has experienced that this is both beneficial and damaging. Nonetheless, I think MDP tickets should still be awarded after a primary,” Nasheed tweeted Tuesday morning.

After defeating President Abdulla Yameen in September, the allied parties will also contest the parliamentary elections as a coalition, joint opposition spokesman Ahmed Mahloof tweeted.

It would be up to the parties to hold primaries when constituencies are allocated, the independent lawmaker added.

It is unclear if the parties have come to an understanding on dividing the 87 constituencies. The terms of the agreement between the coalition partners have not been made public.

Aside from the MDP and Gayoom’s breakaway faction of the outgoing ruling party, the other partners are the Jumhooree Party and religious conservative Adhaalath Party.

Gayoom joined forces with his rival Nasheed after an acrimonious dispute with his half-brother Yameen for control of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.

The dozen former PPM MPs were deemed to have lost their seats in July last year when they joined the opposition behind Gayoom.

They were barred entry to parliament until the Supreme Court ruled last month that its July 2017 anti-defection ruling was misapplied by the Elections Commission.