Leads a 10,000 member party, but under 2,000 votes?

Maldives National Party (MNP) presents presidential ticket to the party’s candidate and leader, Dhangethi MP Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim on May 26, 2023. (Photo/MNP)

Just merly three months into the party’s exsistance, Maldives National Party (MNP) was able to apply for registration at the Elecction Commission (EC) with over 5,000 members from all across Maldives. A month later, membership reached 10,000, easily surpassing multiple other politicail parties that were in the arena for a much longer period of time. 

The party leader Mohamed Nazim set out to compete in the 2023 Presidential Elections, citing that for ‘employment’ there was no other positions for him apart from presidency. His speed forward was commandable, and certainly praiseworthy. But the priliminary results of the ballots casted seem to indicate that the progress has come to a screeching halt.

As per the results so far, Nazim was able to secure less than 2,000 votes, landing him at the second last position among the eight presidential hopefuls. Compared to his results, independent candidates Umar Naseer with over 6,000 votes and Faris Maumoon with more than 3,000 votes fared much better. 

Nazim’s political career 

His name started gaining tracktion within the Maldivian political playingfield during February 2012. He was seen caught among the imfamous clash between Maldives Police Services and Maldives National Defence Forece (MNDF), and was bearer of the list of demands from MNDF to then Denfence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaan. After this meeting, Nazim was the one who walked into Jumhoory Maidhaan, and annouced that then President Mohamed Nasheed would be resiging. 

With that, Nazim gained an added moniker to his name from MDP - ‘Baghee’ Nazim aka ‘Traitor’ Nazim.

Amidst heightened political turmoil, and facing the wrath of the largest political force, Nazim was soon seen as the Defence Minister for the government formed by Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik - Nasheed’s sucessor, and also Vice President to him till regisnation. Nazim was at the frontline of this government, which faced much external pressure for its entire duration. 

The next election saw former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom taking the reigns of Maldives, and also Nazim retaining his spot as the Defence Minister. 

However, him, and Yameen’s most trusted ally for that duration, then Tourism Minister and later VP Ahmed Adeeb did not see eye to eye, and led to opening an entirely new chapter in Nazm’s political carrier. 

Suddenly, Police were seen entering his residences in the middle of the night, and locating a pistol from his bedroom. It did not take long for him to be dismissed as minister, and endured a long period of imprisionment. 

Nazim recieved an 11 year jail sentence from this case, but remained assuring people that this was not the end of his time in politics. 

Finally, he managed to escape the imprisonment, but only after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s election. After freedom, Nazim walked into coalition partner Jumhoory Party, and got elected as Dhagethi MP under its ticket. It is said that only esteemed and close members to JP Leader Qasim Ibrahim are allowed to contest for Dhangethi constituency.

Despite this seemingly strong links to JP, within the same year as his election, Nazim vanished from the party’s frontline, and ultimately existed the party itself in 2021. 

The next news that caught wind were talks of Nazim forming his own political movement. While this did earn him Qasim’s critisism, Nazim was also extended invitation to form coalition ahead of this election. 

His response to the invitation was a decline, and an assuarance that MNP will contest alone, and win the election. 

It is an unusual scene to see a leader with about 10,000 members to his party getting less than 2,000 votes. Why didn't party members vote for him? Questions also possibly raise on the authenticity of its membership statistics. 

Some closly working wiht Nazim indicate that he is working towards winning the 2028 Presidential Election, and that this election is simply a platfom to showcase his leadership qualities. A stepping stone to sucess. 

Unfortunately, the preliminary results are not as promising perhpas. For someone who emerged into the political scene and gained a large following over a short period of time, Nazim’s  less than one percent is tremendously dissapointing. 

Now, the questions many ask on how will he overcome the results of this election, is significant. Certainly many will be keeping a closewatch for his next step, in whichever direction.