Members of the Maldives’ main opposition have applied to form a new political party, local media reported Sunday, months before a presidential election is due to take place.
Vnews, citing a confidential source, said the application was submitted by a group that includes several former senior members of the Maldivian Democratic Party.
Sun Online reported the group was led by a lawyer who is a leading member of the MDP.
But the MDP’s secretary general, Anas Abdul Sattar, told the Maldives Independent that the party was unaware some of its members were trying to break away.
“We are not aware of this. Everyone has the right to form political parties so that might be true. But we have not been informed of anything like this within the party,” he said.
According to Mihaaru, the application for the Maldives Labour and Social Justice Party was submitted by prominent lawyer Abdulla Haseen.
He had reportedly left to form the new party and said he did not have any issues with the MDP.
Haseen, who was an active member of the MDP during the campaign against former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s 30-year rule, said his aim was to ensure labour rights and establish social justice.
Earlier in the day, the Elections Commission confirmed that an application had been submitted to form a new party and that a decision would be announced next week.
The EC previously rejected applications to register two new parties. At present, there are six political parties in the country.
The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives has the largest membership. Two smaller parties – the Maldives Development Alliance and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party – are in a coalition with the government.
The opposition coalition is made up of the MDP, the religiously conservative Adhaalath Party, the Jumhooree Party and a breakaway PPM faction led by Gayoom.