Maldives in Majlis vote
The People of Maldives are voting today to elect a new parliament or Majlis. There are 85 seats in the new parliament (formerly 77 seats) and 302 candidates. The number of eligible voters is 240,652 and they will be voting between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time.
There are 85 candidates standing from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the party of former President Mohamed Nasheed who was ousted (or resigned, depending upon your standpoint) in February 2012. In the 2009 election the MDP won 26 seats, but currently has 29 members in parliament. Nasheed narrowly lost the presidential election last year when he took 48.61% of the vote to incumbent President Abdulla Yameen (younger brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom) who took 51.39% of the vote.
The ruling Progressive Coalition is dividing its effort; there are 50 candidates standing for the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) which currently has 18 members in parliament. The PPM was formed in 2011 by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the country from 1978 until 2008, after he left the Maldivian Peoples Party (also known as Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party – DRP).
The coalition also has 28 candidates standing for the Republican Party, also known as Jumhooree Party, who won one seat in 2009 but currently has six seats and there are seven candidates standing for the Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA) which was formed in 2012.
There are 12 candidates standing for the conservative Sunni Islam Adhaalath Party; six candidates from the Maldivian Peoples Party or Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and 114 independent candidates.