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Maldives Political Parties

On 21 May 2005 President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom asked the People's Majlis in its next session to take up the question of whether to allow the registration of political parties. The President's directive followed an opinion issued by the Attorney General overturning a 2001 finding from his predecessor that political parties are not allowed under the Constitution. The People's Majlis, which in the past had functioned largely to rubber stamp "requests" from the President, was expected to move expeditiously on the question.

Initially five organizations completed pre-registration requirements, as formulated by the Home Ministry, to be recognized as political parties. In addition to the Maldivian People's Party, founded by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom; the Maldivian People's Democratic Party (heretofore known as the Maldivian Democratic Party, or MDP); and the Islamic Democratic Party, headed by former National Security Service (NSS) officer Umar Naseer. Applications had also been accepted from the Maldives Labor Party, headed by the vice chairman of the Bodybuilding Federation of Maldives, and the Adalat (Justice) Party, headed by Sheikh Hussein Rahman Hassan. The leaders of the last three proto-parties appear to be relative newcomers to the political scene.

Mohamed Nasheed founded MDP in November 2003 while in exile. Until the presidential elections in October 2008 when Nasheed became the country's first democratically elected president, it served as the main opposition party. Its stated goal is the promotion of human rights and democracy in Maldives. By 2009 MDP had 26 of the 77 seats in parliament. It is the second largest political party in the country, with 28,995 members. MDP was confident it would soon surpass DRP's membership of 30,215.

The chairman of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party) DRP is former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The DRP's stated aims include the facilitation of greater prosperity for the people, increasing public participation in governance and promotion of Islamic principles. DRP has credited Gayoom as the "architect of the social and economy progress that the Maldives has attained over the past quarter-century." The DRP had 28 out of the 77 seats in parliament in 2009 and was the main opposition party.

The Adhaalath Party is two of its members, Dr. Abdul Majeed Bari and Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed. The party's president is Sheikh Hussain Rasheed Ahmed. Asim Mohamed, Adhalaath Party's interim Vice President, stated that the perception that Adhalaath was a religious party was inaccurate. While admitting that their grassroots were more conservative, he denied being an Islamist party. Asim had previously described the party as "center, conservative left." He noted that though some party leaders were religious scholars trained in the Middle East, they also had scholars, such as himself who were trained in Australia.

Dhivehi Qaumee Party [DQP] was founded in January 2009 by Foreign Minister Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, also a founding member of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), and Dr. Hassan Saeed, Attorney General under Gayoom's administration. The DQP was part of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) led coalition government. The DQP described itself as "centrist, with focus on rule of law to consolidate democracy, the improvement of social conditions and a free market approach to solving economic issues." The DQP had two seats in Parliament in 2009. Dr. Saeed resigned his post as special advisor to President Nasheed on the anniversary of the new government's 100 days in power. In October 1, 2009, the DQP pulled out of the government coalition claiming it had failed to deliver on its promises. Dr. Shaheed joined the ruling MDP. In October 2008, Dr. Saeed and Dr. Shaeed ran on an independent ticket as President and Vice-President respectively.

On 05 September 2011 Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom unveiled his new party, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). Gayoom, who resigned from Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) the previous rday, told journalists that he chose the name as the party would work for the current and the future generations. “The word ‘progressive’ refers to the movement which aims to bring changes to the country through the government. It means that the party always aims to bring development to the country and the people of Maldives,” he said.

Asked by reporters that his efforts to create Progressive Party would mark his return to politics, Gayoom said he announced his decision on January 25, 2010 to step away from politics because he had full confidence that DRP would be run according to certain principles.

While political pluralism was a new concept the country had embraced, with 13 political parties and 450 candidates competing for 77 seats at the 2009 first parliamentary elections, handling the new-found freedoms under the new constitution was something they were still grappling with. They understood that differences in views and opinions were part of democracy but stated the need for a strong, viable opposition that was not driven solely by politics and resorted to opposing for the sake of opposition.

Political parties with an asterisk were dissolved on 7 February 2014 by the Elections Commission under the Political Parties Act, which requires a minimum membership; the status of these parties is unresolved, as the Supreme Court later ruled the dissolution invalid

  1. Adhaalath (Justice) Party or AP [Sheikh Imran ABDULLA]
  2. Dhivehi Qaumee Party or DQP [Hassan SAEED]*
  3. Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party) or DRP
  4. Gaumee Itthihaad Party (National Unity Party) or GIP [Mohamed WAHEED]
  5. Islamic Democratic Party or IDP*
  6. Maldives Development Alliance or MDA [Ahmed SIYAM]
  7. Maldives National Congress or MNC [Ali AMJAD]*
  8. Maldives Reform Movement or MRM [Mohamed MUNAWWAR]
  9. Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Reeko Moosa MANIKU]
  10. Maldivian Labor Party or MLP [Ahmed MOOSA]*
  11. Maldivian Social Democratic Party or MSDP [Reeko Ibrahim MANIKU]*
  12. Meedhu Dhaaira
  13. People's Alliance or PA [Moosa ZAMEERI]*
  14. People's Party or PP [Ahmed RIYAZ]*
  15. Poverty Alleviation Party or PAP
  16. Progressive Party of Maldives or PPM [Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM]
  17. Republican (Jumhooree) Party or JP [Qasim IBRAHIM]
  18. Social Liberal Party or SLP [Mazian RASHEED]*

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Page last modified: 04-08-2015 20:45:05 ZULU