'Confident of Male' city seats despite small crowd at rally'

Main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has reiterated their confidence in winning Male' city council seats in the upcoming local council election despite the disappointing amount of supporters who attended their campaign launching event.

Last Friday, opposing Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) launched their LCE campaign at a massive event. The amount of supporters that attended the MDP event held the week before dimmed in comparison to the large amount of supporters gathered at the opposition rally. As a result, heavy criticism has been aimed at the main-ruling party, with many questioning whether MDP could win the Male' city seats in the upcoming council election.

Speaking at a press conference held Sunday, Deputy Secretary General of MDP Afshan Latheef said the difference in the manner in which both parties kicked off their campaigns made it evident that it is MDP that supports a decentralized system of governance.

Afshan noted that PPM launched their campaign in capital Male' alone after gathering supporters from all over Maldives to attend the event whereas MDP kicked off their campaign simultaneously in 161 islands, and senior members of the party were present at each island.

"PPM's campaign launching was a very 'centralized' event whereas ours was more 'decentralized'," she said.

Afshan further said while almost 15000 Male' residents are registered as MDP members, a large number of other residents also support MDP and its ideologies. However, the party does acknowledge that the number of supporters in attendance were less compared to previous events, said Afshan.

The reason for the low attendance was previously explained to the media by the party's president and Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed, she added.

While MDP has the largest party membership, the disappointing turnout is a reflection of the members' disappointment in how the administration's is proceeding, Nasheed had said. The hopes and dreams of the people are connected to the administration and MDP, and he himself believes the administration is unable to fully deliver on the hopes of the country's citizens, Nasheed had admitted.

Afshan said the residents of Male' city had numerous concerns, and the same concerns are shared by MDP members in the capital. MDP is the only group that can address the concerns and bring about an effective solution, she said.

The Deputy-Secretary General also described former housing minister and opposition mayoral candidate for Male' city Dr. Mohamed Muizzu as a failed minister who was unable to bring about positive changes to the city even after withholding authorities given to the city council. While MDP's Secretary General Anas Abdul Sattar will be contesting against Muizzu in the election, there is no doubt that Anas would win by a landslide, said Afshan.