There is nothing extraordinary about Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) wanting to secure 50 seats, or 60 seats or even all the 75 seats in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. What IS remarkable is the strategy it appears to be adopting to achieve that ambitious goal.
From the signals Party leader Gayoom is giving out it appears the party is thinking of treading the beaten track, raising the bogey of Christianity and the ghost of xenophobia. "A few nights ago, I said we need to win, not just 50 seats but a minimum of 60 seats. If we secure 60 seats out of the 75 seats in the Majlis, then DRP will be able to steer the country back on track; we will able to protect the country's Islamic faith; there will be no opportunity for other religions in Maldives; the country's political system will prevail, and nobody will be able interfere with the country's sovereignty," Gayoom said speaking at the party's General Assembly held on Sunday night at Dharubaaruge.
Gayoom also tried his usual rhetoric of claiming the credit for reforms and development. Speaking in this vein, he said that if the party wins sufficient seats they will be able to put the country back on track and bring further development.
Using a tried and failed method may not appear very smart. But appearances may be deceptive, especially superficial appearances. Deeper analysis shows that DRP did get 46% of the votes during the presidential election. The party's current strategy might be to retain that vote share. If they manage that and if the ruling coalition gets divided what would be the result? Only time will tell.