Nasheed's party announces date for parliamentary primaries

Main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on Sunday announced that the party's primaries for the upcoming parliamentary elections would be held on January 18.

MDP said the party's primaries for 77 constituencies would be held from 2.30pm to 8pm on January 18.

The ruling coalition has remained at loggerheads over contesting the elections through the alliance after MDP last month had backed former president Mohamed Nasheed's decision to contest for all parliamentary seats.

Party leaders along with incumbent president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has thus far failed to reach a consensus over contesting the elections through the coalition.

Nasheed who himself would be contesting for a seat has continued to insist that his party needs parliamentary majority to sustain the coalition government.

The decision made by MDP appears 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.