Monday, September 8, 2008

Waiting for the elusive wave of voter support

If you happened to tune in to Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, on August 28, and saw tears running down the faces of his audience, then you would know what it means to electrify an electorate. It's painfully obvious that no candidate in the Maldives Presidential election has come anywhere near that level of voter frenzy. With the election coming up in less than 30 days, the majority of Maldivian voters still appear to be undecided.

And yet, it is this very indecision that raises the possibility of a wave of mass support for a lucky candidate. Let's look at it this way. So far perhaps only about half the voters have firmly decided on a candidate. This means that about 100,000 remaining voters will be making up their mind within the next 3 weeks or so. The chances are that this number will be unequally divided among the 7 or 8 candidates in the fray. If any of the candidates manages somehow to attract the lion's share of these 100,000 voters, he could trigger a wave.

So far there have been few signs of any candidate triggering even a ripple, let alone a wave. The nearest to that was when Gasim Ibrahim joined Jumhooree Party about a month back, along with many high ranking politicians. Within days the party laid claims to being the second largest group in the Majlis. This claim was backed up by a surprising victory for their candidate Mohammed Shihab in the election to the post of Speaker of the Majlis. At that point Jumhooree Party appeared to be on the verge of a tsunami. But then the momentum has slowed down, and some say even reversed. The party suffered two major setbacks in a row last week. One, in the formation of the Election Commission and the other in the resignation of Zubair, the Majlis Member for North Ari Atoll.

Hassan Saeed got an image boost following his performance in the presidential debate and his victories in two opinion polls (though the results of both are disputed.) But so far this boost has not triggered any wave. Further, he may find it difficult to keep up with the increasing pace of the campaign, as he lacks a party to back him.

According to most pundits Anni is slowly gaining in popularity and with MDP well organized and capable of scaling up the campaign across the country, he appears to be positioned to mobilize a landslide. He however is hampered by an image trap, which he must offset by selecting a running mate with the right type of image.

What happens if no candidate manages to take and overwhelming lead? According to most pundits such a situation could favor Gayoom, who could then coast to victory in the first round with a wafer thin majority. Others say that the election would go into a second round, raising the possibility of artificially forced realignments among the candidates and their supporters.

With barely a month left for the election, time is running out for the candidates to trigger the elusive wave. Will any of them succeed?


Anonymous said...

barely a week left for election......if you are that far ahead of us in time then do let us know who wins next week.

where is your ali zakwan report?

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that you don't talk of Ibra as a possible president. My vote goes to him. His policies are great and he is a man of principle.

Just wondered why!

Anonymous said...

All candidates policies are more or less similar, so in that case it's better to vote for the only one who is in the root of all these changes and that is Anni. my vote goes to him.

Anonymous said...

does anybody know how much money has been spent for the maumoon campaign from the government budget?

Nazeer said...

"Declare to Vote" because there are only two ways that a person can achieve their dreams; through money and relative wealth, or through education and development.
While it is true that some amongst us profit now, their wealth is only great when relative to the plight of most Maldivians. On the grand scheme they are ignorant men who do not realize that the dream of our nation is to achieve great things together. They are like men who cannot swim, standing on the heads of others to survive in relatively shallow water?
It is the responsibility of all individuals, whether they are party members or not, to ensure that violence is prevented. There should be compromise, people should accommodate the legitimate ideas of others, and we should all strive for a peaceful and a democratic Maldives, when it is the responsibility of all individuals in evryway, whether they are party members or not, to ensure that violence is prevented.
There should be compromise, people should accommodate the ideas of others, and we should all strive for a peaceful and democratic Maldives.
I believe any party or organisation must and is for the people and the educated people must take a big responsibility in sharing our lives as we are all heading to one destination in everyway to fulfill the Maldivian Dream.
Our main problem now is the amount of people who would put in sincerity to their services as promised and the amount of people who are aware of such a probable situation.I just don’t know how any society can prosper when it stifles half its productive potential and to fear a deadly combination of wealth and backwardness?
I beleive there is a sense of pride in the country, among evry Maldivian, especially in one another, for many, a totally new experience, affirmed their faith in their neighbours and their fellow Maldivians. I feel Maldives must run with a true Islamic democracy, a true democracy that should be decided within us that discourage future leaders from abusing our religion for their personal or political gain but separated itself from corruption. Although, democracy is not the only tool to eliminate corruption.

"An informed citizen is freedom's best friend and a controlled citizen is our worst enemy".
"Declare yourself to Vote for change"

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Fair assessment, I suspect the broadbased MDP have the potential to create a wave once the present hurdles put up by the DRP backed "Transitional Chapter" are resolved. Mind you this is a fine line we are treading. Consider the results of tonight's DhiFM sms poll wher MDP secured 40% well ahead of Gayyoom's and Hassan Saeed's 24% and 23% respectively.