Maldives opposition loses largest political party rank to ruling PPM

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Monday became the largest political party in the Maldives after main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) lost nearly half of its membership over the new law requiring parties to submit fingerprint records of members.

The archipelago's electoral watchdog publicized party statistics on Monday which show that PPM has 37,633 members after MDP lost 18,803 members reducing its membership to 27,805.

Government aligned Jumhoory Party (JP) was the next biggest loser but maintained third place with almost 11,000 members followed by ruling coalition party Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) in fourth.

The recent amendment to the political party Act mandated all political parties to submit fingerprint records of members within a one month period.

The amendment was challenged in court by MDP alleging that the law was designed to cut off state funds received on the account of the number of members which it lost.

The elections commission has maintained that the amendment was necessary to prevent fraud.