Backed by the four-party opposition coalition, the Maldivian Democratic Party’s candidate for a vacant seat on the Baa atoll Kamadhoo island council won Saturday’s by-election against the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives candidate.
Ahmed Sajid won with 170 votes to pro-government candidate Ali Nazim’s 142 votes, according to the Elections Commission. The turnout was 93 percent.
The by-election was called after an MDP councillor Al Mausoom resigned from the three-member island council shortly after the May 6 local council elections.
The MDP won back its two-seat majority with Saturday’s victory.
A team of opposition lawmakers and senior members from the allied parties visited the small north-central island to campaign ahead of the polls. Opposition supporters celebrated with a barbecue Saturday night after the provisional results were announced at polling stations both on the island and the capital Malé.
Exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed suggested on Twitter that the by-election result symbolised the sentiments of the Maldivian electorate towards embattled President Abdulla Yameen.
The PPM suffered heavy losses in the May 6 polls, which saw the MDP sweep the city council and atoll council races and win 100 more seats than the ruling coalition.
But senior PPM lawmakers have contended in the wake of Saturday’s election that the outcome portends well for Yameen in the 2018 presidential election.
Majority Leader Ahmed Nihan said the results mean that Yameen secured 46 percent on his own against the broad alliance formed between four opposition leaders.
Yameen will win a majority in next year’s polls, the PPM parliamentary group leader declared as some government supporters observed that the PPM’s vote share has grown from 25 percent in the 2013 presidential election.
1. PPM Yamin 46%
2. Maumoon. 13.5%
4. MDP. 13.5%
5. JP. 13.5%
6. Adalath. 13.5%
— Ahmed Nihan (@ahmed_nihan) August 19, 2017