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Maldives Parliamentary Election 2024: A breakdown of the electoral scene

This article delves deep into the electoral environment of Maldives' next parliamentary election slated for April 21 and explains the stances of each contending political party alongside concerns empaneled within the electoral system this year.

Aishath Shuba Solih
18 April 2024, MVT 13:03
Sessions ongoing at the parliament chamber. -- Photo: Mihaaru News
Aishath Shuba Solih
18 April 2024, MVT 13:03

With the approaching conclusion of Maldives’ 19th legislative term on May 28, 2024, the country has been gearing up for its fourth multiparty parliamentary elections. The terminal scene of the electoral campaign overtakes the country amid these conclusive days with electoral debates permeating daily discussions.

These crucial final moments that will dictate the outcome of the country’s legislative scene for the next five years are dominated by election headlines that hastily informs voters on the latest campaign updates of the eight political parties engaged in the race alongside the 368 candidates fielded for the 93 constituencies of the 20th People's Majlis.


- People's National Congress (PNC): 90 candidates - dominates the party affiliated candidacy numbers in this race

- Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP): 89 candidates

- Independent: 130 candidates - remarkably eclipses the electoral scene with the highest numbers

- The Democrats: 9 candidates

- Adhaalath Party: 4 candidates

- Maldives Development Alliance (MDA): 4 candidates

- Jumhooree Party (JP): 10 candidates

- Maldives National Party (MNP): 2 candidates - lowest number of representatives fielded by a party in this election

Political scene of the parliamentary polls 2024 -- Source: Transparency Maldives


Seats in the parliament are split in conformity of Article 10 of the Electoral Constituencies Act which emphasizes stabilization of equal balance amid representation of parliamentary seats. The Act stipulates that 2 representatives must be appointed for a populace of 5000 or fewer in an administrative division with an additional seat allocated to account for a population surge of another 5000 constituents.

Consequent to the observation of population increases across several regions within the last five years, the current number of constituencies has hiked to 93 with six new constituencies added to the earlier 87 seats in the 19th parliamentary term.

Eligible voters for each constituency are designated based on the location of their national registration as imposed by Article 8 of the General Elections Act. Subsequently, the report by Transparency Maldives on the electoral environment this year sheds light on the recurring issues empaneled within this method for voter registry, emphasizing that a handful of voters are compelled to vote for constituencies they no longer associate any socio-economic or other interests with owing to the failure in addressing the rising number of relocated migrants to the Capital City of Male’ which has resulted in numerous relinquished residencies.

However, eligibility for candidacy are notably free of this constraint with no restrictions legislated to prevent potential lawmakers from seeking seats in constituencies that remain untethered to their registered addresses. While 500 residents from the target constituency are required to endorse the candidacy of an independent applicant running for an unaffiliated district, political parties hold intra-party primaries and fields candidates for constitutions wherein the elected candidate whether unaffiliated is designated as the party’s representative for the specific administrative division.

The relocated populace remains unable to contribute in regions where they reside due to the structure for allocating voters’ constituency which propels questions on why legislators are free of such constraints when civilians remain the most affected by this curtailment.

Campaign posters for parliamentary elections affixed across streets in the Male region. -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru News


As campaign activities enter its final phase, one of the most prominent voices on podiums this electoral term is President Dr Muizzu. During an event held to convene with the party supporters across Hiya Towers in Hulhumale Phase, 2, the president had stressed the importance of parliament majority, asserting that development cannot be progressed for the people without the support of the parliament.

Recalling the unfolding of events during the ratification of the annual State budget in last December when opposition MDP, who presently holds majority of the parliament had passed the annual state budget to their inclinations in complete disregard of the manifesto planned out by the administration, the President had emphasized the authority and significance of a pro-government parliament while highlighting struggles in proceeding the government and the imposed need to seek foreign investors to balance expenditure.

A supportive legislate had benefited the government during MDP’s former administration as well. Following the establishment of super majority in the preceding electoral term, MDP had exercised their control to secure majority of parliament committees, with this success ensuring political stability and –although disagreement ensued to some extent— marking the beginning of a firm executive and legislature cooperation.

Moreover, Clause 1 of Article 87 in the Constitution solidifies the importance of majority with the stipulation that any and all decisions of the parliament must be passed in unanimity of all members in attendance while Article 5 on the Constitution confers all legislative authorities of the Republic to the parliament.


With President Dr Mohamed Muizzu assuming his role as executive during the parliamentary elections held last year, the present scene of the country’s politics is ruled by his affiliated coalition, PNC who has formed an authenticated alliance with PPM.

Steering to win the upcoming parliament election in their favor, PPM/PNC coalition had solely fielded candidates from PNC for the elections, contesting to secure all but three seats this term. The constituencies they had relinquished offers leeway for political leaders of Jumhooree Party (Qasim Ibrahim vying for the Maamigili seat), Maldives Development Alliance [MDA] (Ahmed Siyam running for the Meedhoo Constituency) and Maldives National Party (Mohamed Nazim contesting for the North Maafannu seat), with Special Advisor to the President, Abdul Raheem Abdulla affirming that these seats were forfeited in a bid to display respect to these leaders.

President Dr Mohamed Muizzu.

Moreover, irregularities empanel the inter-party electoral procedures of the ruling faction with some coalition leaders endorsing candidates while wholly disregarding primary winners who represent the same constituencies under the party’s ticket. Recognizing that such events make for confusing instances and expressing concerns that votes may splinter as a result, President Muizzu had explained that some coalition members deemed it the ideal choice for certain constituencies.

A factor that could potentially fracture the vote base further is the PNC's breakaway faction People's National Front (PNF), led by former President Abdulla Yameen. PNF affiliated candidates contesting, albeit officially as independents, against the ruling party, whose concentrated efforts overturned the former elections in PNCs favor, has also thrown voter loyalties into question.

The Democrats, a breakaway party from MDP, formed owing to inter-party dissent ahead of the presidential election has withdrawn two of their candidates from the race, with those contenders imploring their supporters to cast ballots for the PNC-backed candidates in concerned constituencies, distinctly hinting at an alliance.

Meanwhile, MDP, who has declared their agenda in serving as the major opposition party to the administration has reached out to breakaway factions and minor oppositions to eliminate voter division caused by splintered parties that had primarily contributed to their defeat in the recent presidential polls. Subsequently, PNF has endorsed the MDP candidate vying for South Fuvahmulah constituency with Secretary General of the recently inaugurated party, Mohamed Maleeh Jamaal announcing their agenda of “a way other than President Dr Mohamed Muizzu” while MDP further expressed support for the PNF backed candidate in the Northern Fuvahmulah Constituency.

MDP also remains allied with Adhaalath Party since their allegiance in the presidential elections to consolidate power in their favor, in accordance with President of the MDP, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s invitation appealing extension of consistent support in the parliamentary race.


While political parties are grappling with fractured coalitions and streamlining alliances during the final scenes of the elections, campaign and expenditures has reached a crucial stage wherein persistent concern on vote buying and misuse of State resources once more emerged.

Article 69 of the General Elections act stipulates that candidates must not expend over MVR 2,000 (approximately USD 130) for each eligible voter in the contested constituency and Article 74 (a.12) of the Act prohibits provision of material or financial assistance to obtain support or impact an electoral right of another candidate however these two laws observe consistent infringement during each polling period.

Despite Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) establishing guidelines to reduce corruption amid elections and address misuse of state funds, key articles in this guideline requires legislation to employ effective implementation.

Campaign posters featured across streets in the Male region for parliamentary elections 2024. -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru News

Meanwhile, the issue of legislatures prioritizing political agendas before their lawmaker duties has also surfaced. Deliberate derailment actions such as absence from sessions to prove a political point are not rare in the country's legislative scene. Such conduct significantly derails the parliament's procedures with the daily scheduled agenda postponed alongside the session in some cases due to unmet quorum. The law also does not mandate any financial burden over them for such conduct. However, lawmakers must refrain from operating under political or personal agendas, proceed transparently and extend efforts to ensure the utmost benefits for their populace of their constituency in adherence to the aforementioned Article in the Constituency.

Since the introduction of multiparty elections with the new constitution, female representation in the parliament has been derailed with no conclusive improvement. Although no discriminatory values are enforced through the legal framework against women, there are unaddressed key barriers for women in the field as remarked in the report of Transparency Maldives conducted to review the current election scene.

The review highlights the connection of successful female lawmakers to privileged backgrounds or greater political capital, emphasizing access to finance as an important factor contributing to low female representation in the legislative. Religious and socio-cultural perceptions further contribute in impeding progress towards this direction, with women detained in roles of child-rearing and household in these patriarchal views.

During this concluding 19th parliament term, only 4 of the 87 legislators are female. While the latest parliament polls had 386 candidates vying for the seats, 35 of them are women and notably, only 4 were elected to the seats. These number observed a slight surge this electoral term with 42 out of the 368 candidates marking female representations in candidacy roles. Eva Abdulla, politically allied with the Democrats has held the Galolhu Constituency for fifteen years, and has once more secured candidacy for the election, striving towards a fourth term. However, the factors that were once in her favor such as the large member count of her former affiliation, MDP, no longer remains as advantages with the breakaway of her current affiliation, The Democrats from the party, dividing the voter base.

Female representation in the 19th and 20th parliamentary term. -- Source: Transparency Maldives

A key change is observed this parliament electoral term, setting it apart from the previous three polls. After much derails and struggles an amendment to Article 43 of the General Elections Act was passed to prohibit all elections during the month of Ramadan. This motion had delayed this year’s parliamentary elections initially slated for March 17 to the now decisive date of April 21.

While the voting base are allocated dedicated locations based on their region of registry to cast their ballots, Elections Commission (EC) had revealed that many relocation requests were lodged to the commission during the extended window with a little over 10,000 applications.

Moreover, a total of 602 polling stations has been placed across the constituencies while three are stationed overseas in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Trivandrum, India; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the results of the polls will be announced within seven days after the elections.

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