MDP stand on parliamentary elections threatens coalition split

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on Saturday announced its decision to contest for all seats in the upcoming parliamentary elections which threatens the split of the coalition government less tan a month after taking office.

Former president Mohamed Nasheed's motion to nominate candidates for all 87 seats in the parliamentary elections slated for March next year was backed by an overwhelming majority of his party's council during an impromptu sit-down on Saturday evening.

However, the decision appeared to be in direct violation of the agreement signed by the four parties of the coalition before its victory in September's presidential elections.

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.

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.

According to a copy of the agreement obtained by AVAS which was signed by MDP chairperson Hassan Latheef and Solih, the coalition had agreed to allocate 35 seats for MDP, 22 for JP, 20 for Gayoom's Maumoon Reform Movement (MRM) and 13 for AP.