President Solih won the MDP primary elections yesterday and his supporters are celebrating this victory. He addressed them in front of the party HQ last night, saying that he would easily win this year's presidential election. However, it remains to be seen whether his win will be easy, as a more objective evaluation of the election is required.
Election Voter Numbers
The MDP's central election committee reported that there were 57,255 eligible voters in the election. In comparison, during the 2022 MDP chairperson election, there were 96,000 eligible voters. However, changes were made to the party's membership registry after that election, resulting in the removal of 39,000 members.
During yesterday's election, many veteran supporters of the party were unable to vote, most of whom were supporters of President Nasheed. Nasheed has claimed that his supporters were removed from the party.
Yesterday's election was a contest between the party's top two leaders. Both of them campaigned vigorously, with President Ibrahim using government ministers and state-owned enterprise leaders, while Nasheed relied on lawmakers who supported him and a few other party members. Despite this intense campaign, only 39,843 voters participated, representing 69% of eligible voters. The remaining 31% of eligible voters chose not to participate, totaling 17,412 people. The fact that such a large number of eligible voters did not turn up to vote suggests a lack of interest in the election.
Use of State Resources
State resources were used to an unprecedented extent in this election. In the final week before the election, the planning ministry alone announced 13 projects and signed them into effect. Various government jobs were given to party members, and the government announced the distribution of land in Male and Addu cities, both of which have high concentrations of MDP members. Almost all media outlets were in President Solih's favor. President Ibrahim also visited various islands to announce new projects, some of which were not even mentioned in the state budget. In the final hours of the campaign, money was also distributed to supporters. In conclusion, all efforts were made to win the election, both fairly and unfairly. President Ibrahim received 24,489 votes, or 42% of the eligible voters in the 39,843 total voters.
Support for Nasheed
Despite these efforts, Nasheed managed to receive more than 15,000 votes. Although this is a small number, it would likely be higher if the votes of members who had lost their voting rights were counted. It is clear from the results that President Ibrahim could not have won without Nasheed.
Coalition Voting Potential
President Ibrahim's campaign has relied on the idea that he will form a coalition to help MDP win the election. Currently, only the Adhaalath Party is confirmed to form an alliance. However, the party is unlikely to secure a significant number of votes, as the results from the post-2018 elections indicate. The Jumhooree Party has the highest chance of forming an alliance, but its support base has declined and its leader Qasim Ibrahim's loyalty is in question. As a result, it is uncertain how many votes the party can secure. The MRM party's election results suggest that it is unlikely to win many votes. These three parties must make a decision on the presidential election before any alliance can be formed, and it remains to be seen if they can secure the same number of votes as Nasheed's supporters.
In conclusion, while President Ibrahim and his campaign team may appear to have defeated Nasheed, a more critical view reveals that a president who has the power of power has not been able to secure the support of a majority of party members, even after using all resources available