MDP denies agreement with The Democrats on Parliamentary System Referendum

The main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has denied comments by Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed suggesting that MDP had an agreement with The Democrats to support a parliamentary system in a referendum on changing the Maldives' government system.

Last month, The Democrats, a breakaway faction of the MDP, submitted a resolution to the Parliament seeking a referendum on changing the government system. The Democrats is the only political party advocating for the change. Meanwhile, Nasheed seems to be the only prominent leader supporting the change.

Ahead of the second round of the presidential election, the Parliament subsequently approved to conduct the referendum before the 30th of this month, with the support of MDP MPs. Some MDP MPs claimed they backed the resolution with the expectation that The Democrats would endorse President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who was seeking re-election, in the second round of voting. However, The Democrats ultimately chose not to support any candidate in the second round.

At Tuesday's Parliament sitting, Nasheed said the Democrats did not endorse any candidate for the second round at the request of MDP. To ensure the Democrats' compliance, the MDP obtained a letter from the Democrats assuring them of the same, but the MDP has not responded to that letter to date, Nasheed disclosed. The Democrats issued the letter expecting MDP to support the referendum, according to Nasheed.

In response to Nasheed's claims, MDP Tuesday clarified that the Democrats had proposed a referendum on changing the government system before September 30. The party had conditioned that they would support President Solih in the second round only if MDP agreed to these terms. However, the MDP informed The Democrats that they could not agree to the Democrats' demand, the party said.

"Nothing else has been agreed between this party and the Democrats," a social media post by MDP on platform X said.

The MDP further said the Demorats' decision not to support any candidate in the presidential election's second round was not part of any agreement between the parties.