The Maldivian Democratic Party's (MDP) parliamentary group leader, Mohamed Aslam, said on Wednesday evening that the biggest obstacle to party members is its leaders' refusal to support the winning candidate in primary elections.
Speaking at a rally to launch MDP's candidate Ibrahim Shaz's campaign for the Guraidhoo constituency by-election, Aslam remarked that MDP did not win majority seats in the 17th and 18th parliamentary elections because party members did not support the primary election winners.
"The MDP is a strong party with a large number of ordinary citizens, and one of the biggest challenges this party faces is that competing candidates in a primary election do not support the winning candidates after they lose," Aslam, the MP for North Hithadhoo constituency, said.
The main reason this was brought up in his statement was to highlight Salman Rasheed's, a competing candidate in the by-election, decision to concede and support Shaz in his candidacy for the parliamentary seat.
MP Aslam said he "salutes" Salman's decision.
"A very good example was shown. In the upcoming and previous elections, and especially to the candidate who lost the primary election [Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed], I would like to tell him to follow [President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih]," Aslam said of Nasheed, who has refused to accept defeat in the primary election and is currently working alongside other political parties.
"Let us try to keep this party as one that adheres to its principles and values. That is a good example. Follow in the footsteps of young Salman Raseed, especially those who believe they are politically strong and have been involved in politics for a long time."
Aslam said even though the parliament currently has 65 MDP MPs, it is difficult to ascertain whether some members are truly party members.
This was in reference to the 12 MPs that work behind Speaker Nasheed, promoting his new movement within MDP called "Fikkurege Dhirun," meaning "reviving an ideology" in Dhivehi.
Aslam said Nasheed's supporters dislike MDP's policies more than the opposition, the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
He said the members of parliament have a lot of responsibilities, and as per the constitution, parliament is the place with the most powers now.
They are the representatives of the people and they are there to do what the people want, he said.
After Ibrahim Riza, the MP who held the Guraidhoo seat for 14 years, passed away after battling cancer, opposition candidates as well as MDP are running in the by-election.
Hussain Riza, brother of former MP Riza, is contesting for the seat with a PPM ticket. Aslam had criticised this move in his remarks as well.
He said some countries have a policy where one's children or brothers rule after they have passed on, but that this was acknowledged within the multi-party system.
"Some people in the Maldives also believe in families ruling. The government should not stay within a family. The government should stay with the people. "Government should be carried out in accordance with the wishes of the people," Aslam said.