Nasheed's party stakes claim to 61 parliament seats amid coalition deadlock

Former president Mohamed Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has informed its intention to contest for 61 seats in next year's parliamentary election despite the coalition government locked in deadlock over the crunch elections, it has emerged.

Before the coalition led by its candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had pulled off a stunning upset in September's presidential elections, the four main parties had agreed to contest the parliamentary elections through the coalition.

Despite numerous sit-downs, the leaders have been unable to agree on the seat allocations for each party.

However, AVAS understands that MDP had now informed the remaining parties in writing that it intends to contest for 61 seats, requesting the coalition's assistance to secure 20 seats. MDP had also said it would leave 26 seats for the other three parties where it would not nominate a candidate.

MDP had originally planned to make an official announcement but had put it off for Sunday to share its intentions with the coalition.

AVAS has been unable to obtain an official comment from MDP and it remains unclear whether the remaining three parties would agree to just a handful of seats in parliament next term.

It was widely believed that the coalition would divide up the seats in accordance with the same percentage that political posts were assigned to each party.

The leaders had agreed that MDP would get 40 percent, with 25 percent business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim's Jumhoory Party (JP) and 20 percent for former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The other main party in the coalition, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) would receive the smallest slice with 15 percent.