Deputy ruling party leader unfazed by failed speaker bid

Deputy ruling party leader and Fonadhoo lawmaker Abdul Raheem Abdulla insisted that he was not disheartened by his rather embarrassing failure to get elected as the country's parliament speaker.

Maldives parliament late Thursday voted to elect Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim as the country's new speaker.

Gasim contested against deputy Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla.

Gasim secured the speaker's post after receiving the backing of 62 lawmakers out of the 80 lawmakers who had voted in the secret ballot. The mere 16 votes for Abdul Raheem meant that most of the ruling coalition lawmakers had voted for his opponent.

After the defeat, Abdul Raheem took to Twitter insisting that he was not disappointed by the outcome.

"I will sacrifice everything for the people, PPM and president Yameen. I will continue to stand firmly behind president Yameen," he pledged.

The resounding victory for Gasim marked a significant shift in parliament majority since the opposition alliance's victory in the presidential elections in September.

Parliament had scheduled a sitting to elect a new speaker, hours after speaker Abdulla Maseeh stepped down ahead of a no-confidence vote which had been scheduled for Thursday evening.