In early 2023, political turmoil in the Maldives became increasingly apparent, stemming from a division within one of the major political parties, the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP). Founded in 2003 by the current Speaker of the Parliament of the Maldives, former President Mohamed Nasheed, the party experienced a rift in its leadership when the current President of the country, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, assumed a prominent role within MDP after winning the presidential election in 2018.
While MDP had long been associated with Nasheed, the internal issues within the party became increasingly visible to the public. This eventually led to a split between the two leaders, prompting them to call for a primary to select the party's presidential candidate. Many expected Nasheed, the party's founder, to win this election, but in a surprising twist of events, Solih emerged victorious, assuming leadership of MDP. This development marked the birth of Nasheed's second political party, "The Democrats," further fueling political tension as this major party split took effect.
By June 2023, the party's problems had become glaringly apparent as the MDP Parliamentary group initiated a no-confidence motion against Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed. Their concerns stemmed from how Nasheed had been conducting parliamentary sessions, particularly in the aftermath of his handling of the no-confidence motion filed against Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath, concerning the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) dispute with Mauritius.
The call for the no-confidence motion was made on June 6th, but as of now, the no-confidence vote has not been held. However, this situation may be evolving, as Nasheed has indicated that despite 25 members initially signing the no-confidence motion withdrawing their support, the motion will still be considered during the next parliamentary session. This is because 22 members have not retracted their signatures, the minimum required to proceed with the motion.
The parliamentary session scheduled for September 11th, 2023, was primarily convened to address the no-confidence motion. However, shortly after MP Hassan Afeef of Vilufushi began presiding over the session, the MDP Parliamentary group surprised observers by announcing their decision to withdraw the no-confidence motion against Nasheed. This decision was officially made the day after the Presidential Election, in which Dr Muizzu, representing a coalition between the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the Peoples National Congress (PNC), secured the majority vote with 46 percent support, the The Democrats achieved third place with 7 percent of the votes, behind President Solih with 39 percent.