Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and President’s Office Minister Mohamed Shifaz were re-elected as president and vice president of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party in nationwide polls on Friday.
Nasheed contested as the sole candidate and won 23,369 votes, according to provisional results announced by the party. Some 63 members voted No in the referendum and there were 152 invalid votes. The former president was previously elected to the MDP presidency uncontested in August 2014, winning 33,709 votes from a total of 57,203 registered members.
Shifaz, former MP for Baarah, retained the post with 13,233 votes whilst his challenge MP Mohamed Aslam trailed behind with 9,957 votes. There were 423 invalid votes.
The campaign for the vice presidency was hard-fought with both candidates visiting MDP strongholds and appealing for votes.
With 87,439 eligible voters, the turnout was 27 percent.
The relatively low turnout was a sign of discontent among the grassroots and despair over the MDP government, opposition lawmaker Adam Shareef Umar suggested.
Hitting back at an event on Saturday morning, Nasheed told reporters that the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives could not draw even 200 voters for an internal election. The MDP’s voters were active members of the party, he said, expressing satisfaction with the turnout.
“In developed countries the total membership of political parties will be seven percent of the voting population. The 25,000 people who actively work to win elections for this party remain unchanged,” he said.