Interim President of People’s National Congress (PNC) Abdul Raheem Abdulla on Wednesday stated that PNC and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s major loss in the parliamentary elections were not caused by a failure in the parties leadership, but due to illegal influences in elections.
Although the two parties contested for a combined 40 seats in the parliamentary elections held on April 6, only 8 parliamentary seats were attained. This was a considerable loss for PPM after losing in the presidential elections held in September 2018. Thoughts are prevalent amongst certain members of PPM that the party’s leadership should take responsibility for the failure.
However, Abdul Raheem said that the failure of a party in an election should not be reason to taint the names of its leaders, but there is no opposition for the parties to be reformed and to give opportunities to new members to be appointed leadership roles, which he fully supports.
He presented Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) as example that the failures in elections were not due to faults in leadership in PPM and PNC.
Abdul Raheem highlighted that MDP was unsuccessful in the parliamentary elections in 2009 held after the presidential win for the party. He further stated that MDP was unsuccessful in attaining much parliamentary seats in 2011 Local Council elections or 2014 parliamentary elections.
“Even after losing so many elections, the leadership remains in running MDP. MDP lost with former President Nasheed included amongst the party.”
Furthermore, he stated that new ideologies must be at the forefront of the parties after losing the elections.
“I am not against a new leadership. That is something I will welcome. I am saying that the loss was not due failure in leadership. It was due to a loss of fairness as the major influences were involved in the elections”, he said.
Abdul Raheem alleged that former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom being arrested on charges of money landing, freezing of party funds, intimidation by threatening arrest to party leaders to prevent PPM and PNC candidates to campaign properly were all reasons that the parties lost. He stated that the Commonwealth report also confirms that there were unlawful influences on part of the administration in the elections as he stated the report alleges that state assets were used in MDP campaigns.
Moreover, he articulated that there were many issues in voting in some constituencies, highlighting that there were a lot of changes to the Maamigili constituency results, and that Elections Commission (EC) had declined request to recount the votes for many of the PPM candidates for that constituency. He is included amongst the PPM candidates for Maamgili constituency.
He further stated that PNC and PPM attaining few parliamentary seats is not reason to prevent them from holding the current administration accountable.
“Talks about how to strengthen PPM and PNC are underway. A strong coalition to hold the administration accountable will be witnessed.”
After the parliamentary elections concluded, PPM’s President Yameen met with the parties council members. Yameen had expressed thoughts in the meeting to work to reform PPM by taking a committee within the party. Included amongst the proposed work is to hold their coalition party PNC’s congress and to appoint new members to leadership positions in order to pave way for the opposition coalition.