Democrats will not support either candidate in runoff

Members of the leadership of the Democrats. (Photo/Democrats)

The Democrats, which placed third in the first round of voting in the Maldives presidential election, has decided it will not support either candidate in the upcoming runoff.

In the first round of voting in the presidential election on September 9, the opposition PPM-PNC’s candidate, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu won 46 percent of votes, while MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the incumbent president, won 39 percent.

The Democrats had engaged in negotiations with both the ruling MDP and the opposition PPM-PNC for a potential coalition deal after the first round of voting.

But the party had set separate terms for a potential deal – a written agreement committing to a share of the administration from the PPM-PNC, and the agreement to hold a constitutional referendum before September 28, to decide on a change in the system of governance, from the MDP.

The deadline given to MDP and the PPM-PNC expired at midnight Wednesday. Neither party agreed to the terms.

The Democrats announced on Thursday morning that it has decided to refrain from supporting either candidate in the upcoming runoff.

Democrats had placed third in the first round of voting with 15,807 votes – which made for 7 percent of total votes.

This made the Democrats the most sought-after party for a potential coalition deal.

Democrats is now the third party or presidential candidate to decide against taking a side in the runoff, after JP’s leader Qasim Ibrahim, who placed fifth with 5,460 votes, and Ahmed Faris Maumoon, an independent, who placed sixth, with 2,979 votes.

Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim’s MNP, which won 1,906 votes, decided to back the PPM-PNC.

Democrats – composed of a breakaway faction of the MDP – is currently pushing for a referendum to change the system of governance in Maldives from a presidential system, to a parliamentary system.