In recent party primaries for parliamentary seats, many winning candidates scored less than 100 votes. This is trivial, considering that a typical Majlis constituency averages about 5000 population and 3500 voters. The result would also be statistically insignificant because there is no valid sampling technique involved in the primaries to include the many subsets of voters in the constituency with varying backgrounds and beliefs. As such, the results of the primaries are unlikely to be predictive of the winning chances of a candidate. So it is not surprising that many losing candidates opt to fight the elections anyway as independent candidates.
The latest incident of this nature involves former Male Atoll member Donad Adam Fulhu's decision to contest the Gaafaru-Kaashidhoo seat of Male Atoll, despite losing the primaries to former Higher Education Minister Ibrahim Hassan (Chubby). The latter has reportedly left the fray in a huff. The case of former Information Minister Nasheed deciding to contest the Kulhudhuffushi South seat is somewhat different because he opted not to take part in the primaries, but his reasons to go it alone are probably similar.
This phenomenon is not limited just to DRP. Ruling party member and sitting MP Sanco Shareef has also decided to contest a Maafannu seat despite losing the primaries to Falah. This is not an isolated case as many other losing candidates from the party are rumored to be contesting.
What's interesting is that in most cases the 'rebel' candidates appear to be leading the 'official' candidates. The words 'rebel' and 'official' are enclosed within inverted commas here because there are reasons to believe that many of the so-called rebel candidates have the political and financial backing of senior party leaders. This is exactly what Chubby alleged in his statement while withdrawing from the contest. This phenomenon is also not limited just to DRP.
So, is there any point in holding party primaries? After all, neighboring countries like India do not hold primaries. Of course the Americans do. The question is: are we closer to India or to the US in terms of voter awareness and openness?