Members of the People's Majlis like to self style themselves 'honorable'. But 'honorable' could today be the last word people think of while referring to members of this supposed to be August body. Their public esteem appears to have taken a nosedive when they decided to hike their salaries several fold through a self vote. The Majlis's decision to take a holiday while important constitutional matters were pending before it did not help things. Neither did the recent debate on extending the lease tenure of tourist resorts. So what are the election prospects of the sitting members?
Today few people believe that any of the current members have any certainty of winning. The members themselves appear to share this sentiment. Most sitting members are abandoning their traditional atolls and moving to safer seats. Ali Mohamed (Noonu), Ibu (Lhaviyani), Ahmed Mohammed (Lhaviyani), Thasmeen (Baa), Shahid (Vaau), Afeef (Thaa), Modi and Maseeh (Gnaviyani) and Shareef (Seenu) are among the few who have so far announced their candidacy for their original constituencies.
The election scenario as it stands now shows the ruling party MDP ranged against former President Gayoom's DRP. In the choice of candidates the two parties appear to be adopting opposing philosophies. DRP has given preference to former government bigwigs and their families. Their list includes former ministers Mausoom, Hamdhun, Shahid and Thasmeen. Former President Gayoom's son Ghassan and Thasmeen's family members are also contesting the elections.
On the other hand, the ruling MDP has preferred ordinary persons close to the electorate. These candidates may not be rich and famous nationally, but they are quite popular in their own constituencies.
As of today, it's too early to predict the outcome of this contest between two opposing philosophies. Watch this space.