Parliament will consider repeal of ban on candidates defeated in primaries

Dhidhdhoo MP Abdul Latheef pictured during a sitting at the People's Majlis. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

Parliament has accepted the Bill to repeal the provision in Political Parties Act which disqualifies candidates defeated in party primaries from competing in elections as independent candidates for consideration.

36 lawmakers voted in favor of considering the Bill this Wednesday afternoon.

The Bill was submitted to the Parliament by Dhidhdhoo MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed.

The provision in questioned was put in place by former ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) lawmakers in 2016.

During the preliminary debate on the Bill earlier this Wednesday, many of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) lawmakers who originally opposed the provision in 2016, spoke in favor of keeping the provision in place.

But several MDP lawmakers voted on accepting the Bill for consideration when voting time came.

During the preliminary debate, Dhidhdhdoo MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed said he found the repeal of the provision crucial because party primaries were often compromised with large numbers of members injected into parties just ahead of primaries for the sole purpose of voting for specific candidates.

Biledhdhoo MP Ahmed Mubeen sided with MP Latheef, and said every person should be allowed the right to compete in elections.

Meanwhile, North Kulhudhuffushi MP, Abdul Gafoor Mohamed, said he found the Bill difficult to accept.

He said that he does not believe primaries are compromised because candidates who compete in primaries wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to go to courts and protests results if they find any issue.

He said that allowing defeated candidates to compete as independent candidates was disrespectful of the whole party-system process.

Meanwhile, North Galolhu MP Eva Abdulla said the Bill was directed at MDP, because MDP was getting ready to hold primaries for the upcoming parliamentary elections while some other parties have opted against holding primaries and already issued party tickets.

She said that allowing candidates defeated in primaries to compete in elections as independent candidates would create an obstacle for political parties to win parliamentary seats.

“The best way for those who don’t receive the ticket to a primary to get behind the person who wins the ticket,” said Eva.