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The Battle of the Ballots - Part I of III

Who are you voting for in the 2018 presidential election?

16 September 2018, MVT 12:40
Candidate Number One, incumbent President Yameen from the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) competes against Candidate Number Two, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu) representing Maldives Democratic Party (MDP)-led Coalition Alliance, for the upcoming 2018 presidential elections. IMAGE: THE EDITION
16 September 2018, MVT 12:40

A look at the candidates themselves, and a comparison of the various pledges made by each faction for the future, as Maldivians prepare to make the most important decision for the country for the next five years.

The Presidential Election 2018 might be one of the most anticipated elections we have ever had in our small country. While we have only two final candidates, 'who is going to win' is a question that most seem indecisive about.

Before heading out to vote, it is surely wisest to gather as much knowledge as possible about the candidates and their pledges.

After all, it is the Presidential Elections - whoever wins will be our leader for the next five years.

The Edition has compiled collective information featured across the coverage within our media family, compiled together with the need-to-know from party manifestos and spokespeople, to bring readers a comprehensive overview of 2018’s Presidential nominees;

Candidate Number One - Incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom from the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)

and

Candidate Number Two - Representing the opposition coalition, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s Parliamentary Group Leader, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu).

The who’s who of the electoral race

Ruling PPM’s Council unanimously decided last May that incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom would be the party’s presidential candidate, as per PPM's charter. A special ceremony was held later to hand over the presidential ticket to President Yameen.

Veteran lawmaker from the main opposition MDP, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu), was nominated as the opposition presidential candidate a day after former President Mohamed Nasheed withdrew his candidacy. He was appointed to the post in a unanimous decision during MDP’s national congress.

Candidate Number One, incumbent President Yameen from the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) competes against Candidate Number Two, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu) representing Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)-led Coalition Alliance, for the upcoming 2018 presidential elections. The illustrated table presents profiles of both candidates, and a brief look at their respective backgrounds.IMAGE: THE EDITION

Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed was appointed as the running mate to contest beside President Yameen in the upcoming presidential elections. Following his appointment, Dr. Shaheem joined PPM declaring his loyalty to the government and President Yameen. He was the Chancellor of Islamic University of Maldives (IUM) and was a leading member of Adhaalath Party until his resignation. Additionally, he was the first Minister of Islamic Affairs in PPM’s government in 2013.

MP Faisal Naseem was elected by Jumhooree Party’s Council as the running mate. MDP had then proposed a resolution to accept Faisal as the running mate, which was unanimously accepted by its National Council. The Jumhooree Party’s council member was the Fuvahmulah MP from 2004 till 2008 and currently is the MP for Kaashidhoo Constituency since 2014.

The opposition coalition currently includes Jumhooree Party, Adhaalath Party and the Maumoon Reform Movement.

As every election period must, the 2013 presidential elections was presented with waves of optimism (promises, promises and more promises) by the presidential candidates.

Looking back at the last election

Looking back at the elections, it is evident that not all promises can be kept. It is with trust that we, the people, vote for our presidential candidates. A trust in promises leading to a single tick that comprises all of our tomorrows; for a period of 5 years, no less.

However, before the 2013 elections, the opposition administration was thrown off mid-presidency by an alleged coup.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, candidate of the first opposition coalition, had been elected during the first democratic elections held in the Maldives, after beating Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the longest-serving autocrat in Asia. The opposition win, however, was cut short after Nasheed’s resignation in February 2012.

During President Nasheed’s regime, the opposition had fulfilled a total of 10 pledges out of the many made. The coalition, among key pledges, had established “Aasandha”, a universal health insurance scheme to achieve affordable and quality healthcare to all; contracted over 10,000 housing units to provide housing; established transport systems in 10 atolls across the archipelago, and combatted 50 percent of the sale on illegal drugs in the country.

With goals to make Maldives a carbon-neutral country, the environment-oriented administration also held the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting in 2009 in efforts to raise awareness on the threats of climate change and its effects on the Maldives before founding the Climate Vulnerable Forum, an association of countries affected disproportionately by climate change.

Following the alleged coup, Nasheed’s successor Mohamed Waheed Hassan took over office until the 2013 elections. Incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, then representing half-brother and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s party PPM, won the two-round 2013 elections after partnering with Jumhooree Party.

With a short-lived coalition and 5 glorious years of presidency, President Yameen brought great infrastructural development to the country with the development of the landmark Sinamale Bridge, Kulhudhufushi Airport, new runway on Velana International Airport and the development of the Male’ city harbour.

In addition to launching the development of various regional airports and harbours across the Maldives, President Yameen''s administration also commenced the project of the new 25-storey state-run Dharumavantha Hospital, seeking to establish state-of-the-art resources and facilities to cater to all Maldivians and minimise the need to travel abroad for medical treatments.

However, with the failure of both administrations to deliver all promises, a more detailed comparison of the past pledges (2013) between both parties are illustrated below.

Pledges to the country made by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) prior to the 2013 presidential elections. IMAGE: THE EDITION
Pledges to the country made by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Coalition Alliance, prior to the 2013 presidential elections. IMAGE: THE EDITION

To be continued in Part II and III, which will feature listings of pledges made for the 2018 elections by both factions, on a variety of important topics.

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