Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lessons from Majlis Results

From the composition of the new People's Majlis (preliminary) one can draw certain tentative conclusions on voter preferences and their vision of the future role of the Majlis. Below are a few points for discussion.

  • Voters appear to have a distinctive inclination towards mercurial candidates who can express themselves fluently and create high drama on the Majlis floor. This is indicated by the success of Reeko Moosa Manik, Nihan, Alhan, Thoriq, Ali Waheed and the two Nasheeds. On a positive note, these members appear to be at a higher intellectual plane compared to who they are replacing. Thus this time it may not be just talk, but also substance.
  • There doesn't appear to be too many buyers for the MDP slogan 'fulfilling promises,' as compared to the DRP slogan 'holding the government responsible.' It doesn't require rocket science to find out why. 'Holding the government responsible' is the logical function of a parliament. Further, in a presidential system a parliamentary majority is not indispensable to fulfill government promises.
  • The relative success of DRP/PA Coalition despite all the audit reports detailing their past deeds shows that the Maldivian people are not vindictive. Instead of harping on the past they appear to want to move on.
  • The electorate has given a strong thumbs-up signal to the party system, as indicated by the overwhelming success of party candidates, many of who were unknown and would have ended with 2 digit results without party backing. While it is true that 13 independents won, some of them are not really independents in the usual sense of the word. People like Nasheed, Ahmed Shyam, Red Wave Saleem and Zahir Adam are independents just because they wanted to fight the election that way. None of them will suffer from the usual disadvantages faced by run-of-the-mill independents, and the voters know that.
  • An interesting side story is the success of Dr. Afraasheem while his critics Sheikh Ilyas and Hussein Rasheed Ahmed did not make it. However, this appears to have less to do with their religious views and more to do with local politics. Afraasheem had the full backing of DRP, the dominant political party in Raa Atoll. In contrast, Ilyas and Hussein Rasheed had to fight not only DRP, but also MDP, their own coalition partner. Afraasheem also enjoyed the luxury of belonging to an elite family of Ungoofaru from where he won the election.


Yusuf said...

Afrasheem's success might have very less to do with his distinctive (controversial is more appropriate i think)religious views as you said. But I think if the Maldivians are made to choose between Afrasheem's religious views and Adhaalath's religious views, Afrasheem would win with a much wider margin. Adhaalath's Sheikhs have no credibility infront of a dominant majority of Maldivians, both as politicians and as religious scholars.

Anonymous said...

Wonder who was the MDP election strategist. The main plank (majority to fullfill 5 promises) was wrong for several reasons.
(1) It is against separation of power, which is what MDP was advocating before coming to power.
(2) It does not ring true as majority not essential in presidential system.
(3) Its sincereity was in question as in the 6 months in power no new law was drafted or presented to Majlis relating to the 5 promises.

Anonymous said...

We know that there are different brands of Islam. Afrasheem is one brand Bari is another.So, it is upto us the consumers to choose the brand we like. In one brand you should look unkempt,dirty and have trousers at knee level. And women are all fully parcelled up as a takeaway. If you like this wahabi brand you choose. I choose what I like. You choose what you like.

Anonymous said...

MDP Election Strategist is for Tory Election Strategist, helping him was Dr Didi.

Anonymous said...

Reeko Moosa on a higher intellectual plan??.. hehe.. Then our standards must be appalling..

Yaamyn said...

@Anonymous, with the Religious brands:

Unfortunately, in the Maldives you don't get to select your brand.

There's an entire ministry of lslamic Affairs that shove down their pill down our throats, neh?

What I enjoyed the most about this election was the slap on the face of Adhaalath.

How much more embarrassment will they take before accepting that they have no clout in the Maldives.

Anonymous said...

Inspite creating a sense of false importance around them,the Adalat bigwigs are seen by many as " Seyku" and not as real Sheiks in the real sense of the world.Their hypocrisy is there for all to see.
(1) They talk as if they have the sole responsibility of saying anything about islam and the rest is viwed as ignorant or trouble makers.
(2) Sometimes strange fatwas are spread by them with a clear political tone to it.For example saying that voting for a particular person is Haram or forbidden.Now it is strange when they dont say anything about some of their coalition partners who have a much pathetic track record when it comes to defending islam or any social values.
(3) Some times the Adalat leaders make very obvious and cheap political gimmicks like asking people to come for a meeting to discuss religion and quran and then suddenly switching the tone and discussing all one sided politics.
(4) Too vindictive in their out look especially towards their opponents.As Dr Waheed have mentioned by and large the Maldivian people are not a vindictive people.
(5)Some even perceive them as a bunch of helpless jokers when they fail to condemn the unislamic misadventures ( tasting a particular brand of wine) by prominent members of the ruling party.
(6) Unable or too scared to do any thing concrete to curb the rising dangerous and militant like islamic extremists in the country.
All these show the Adalat in a very negative light and this is clearly shown in the just concluded elections where they miserably failed to fullfill their rhetorics into reality.Hope that the members of this party get a clear message to be more humble in their approach to others and less vindictive especially when it comes to dealing with people from other parties.Other wise they are destined to remain in the sidelines of the Maldivian politics for a very very long time.

Anonymous said...

By law of gravity, what goes up must come down.
1. Munawar
2. Ibra
3. Qasim
4. Ahmed Abdulla - your buddy

Anonymous said...

Your blog gives a clear picture of the outcome of the parliamentary election without any bias... Never figured that you would be following the Maldivian Political Scenario so closely..... I am sure that those who read your blog will appreciate your work.. Keep it up....

Anonymous said...

Now that Maldivians rejected ALL the Adhaalat candidates, do you think there may be some punishment coming, say like a tsunami.

Anonymous said...

God will not punish us for rejecting Adhaalat party.He has already rejected them,Himself.

Copycat said...


The MDP won a total of 48,000 votes (31 per cent of the total votes cast); the DRP only won 39,000 (25 per cent). Even if you combine the DRP and the PA's votes, the two opposition parties only won 47,400 votes – still less than the MDP. In fifteen constituencies, the MDP candidate lost by less than 100 votes. In seven constituencies, the MDP lost by fewer than 50 votes.

The reason why the MDP lost so many seats, by such narrow margins, is because the pro-reform vote was split between the different parties that make up the ruling coalition government. The constituency of Fuvahmulaku Dhekunu is a classic example. The DRP won the seat with 817 votes. The MDP candidate polled 717 votes and the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) candidate polled 203 votes.

But, if the MDP had entered into an alliance, the DQP and Republican parties would have demanded that the MDP withdraw many of its candidates. Under these terms, the alliance would have won more seats but there would be fewer card-carrying, loyal MDP MPs. Would such a scenario have made the president stronger or weaker than he currently is?

As far as math is concerned, this was no crushing victory for Maumoon and Yamin. Just because the DRP/PA won the most seats in parliament, the fact does not mean they are the most popular party in the country. The vagaries of the first-past-the-post, 'winner takes all' electoral system explains this apparent anomaly.

On the other hand, a minority of loyal MPs is worth more than a majority of traitors anyway.

Anonymous said...

To copycat
By his own admission, Prez Anni said that there is a sizable percentage of Maldivians who will support whichever party/person is in power. This vote bank is the incumbent faithful.Then there was the fear of the civil servants that if Anni may sack them by exerting pressure on the Civil Srvice Commission. Then there were the Anni councilors whose high paid job was to work at island and atoll level to elect MDP.Then there was guy (Maakun Naeem , Auditor) whose job it was to release timely reports("time bombs"). Then there were the ministers and Prez Anni who did nothing but campaigning for MDP during the past month or so and all at our expense. Check also the number of DRP/PA candidates who lost to MDP or other candidates by just a few. Examples. Hiyalee in Hithadhoo, Zakariya in Dhuvaafaru. Mundhu in Manadhoo against son of the Atoll and Minister.etc Then everyone knows Male' is huge MDP vote bank. So, if you add up the huge Male'population then MDP total would go up. Right. Mr. who copies from Dhivehi Observer, the MDP mouth piece.

Anonymous said...

To: Copy cat... Now that the MDP lost the election you can say all sorts of things to satisfy youself but in an election when the people speaks you got to respect the verdict and reflect on what went right or wrong.
Was it good for the MDP leadership to select a large group of people with doubtful credentials who lost as expected?
Do you realize that a post election euphoria and good will for any party( including IDP, DRP,MDP etcc) will last for a few months and when they dont deliver the same public will again react against them as seen in this election.
Is it good for MDP to have a leader who is seen as a loose tongue by a large number of people now.This election showed that arrogant attitude, intimidating rhetoric and posturing doesnot carry weight with the majority.
Isnt it immature for politicians to call each other traitors?This type of thinking shows immaturity and arrogance.The party may be different and the ideals may be even vastly different but almost all the candidates who ran for the majlis are not traitors so this type of artificial labelling doesnot help anyone.
Remember.The electorate send a signal to MDP.They clearly showed that the MDP leadership failed to judge the peoples pulse.Except for a few most of the Maldivians have no interest on this type of loose talk and posturing.They want things to be done for them.If the MDP, DRP or any one else stands in their way as a thorn to block what is rightfully theirs,they will find themselves thrown out of politics and the chance given to some others who may just deliver.
If we use any yard stick as a measurement this election is a stunning defeat for MDP.Even if they show that nothing is wrong every one knows that everything may go wrong for them after this .Least of it may be passing controvertial bills from a hostile majlis and oppsition members who have no love lost for them and who may just not sing to each and every one of the ruling governments ofen immature tunes.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with copycat. The fact is simple and clear. MDP got 48,000 votes DRP only won 39,000. So MDP has actually gained popularity compared to the first round of the presidential election.