Following the first round of voting that took place for the Presidential race 2023 of the Maldives, to nobody’s surprise the first two places were taken up by the two major parties in the Maldives, the coalition between Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the Peoples National Congress (PNC) and the opposing and ruling party, Maldives Democratic Party (MDP).
Taking third place was The Democrats, which is the newly formed political party by the former leader of MDP and the former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed. And now, following the first round of the election, everyone is wondering whose side The Democrats are going to take for the second round of voting, as the party could become the 'king maker' with a total vote count of over 15,000 in the first round of the elections.
While everyone is playing the guessing game when it comes to this coalition, it is extremely hard to predict which side The Democrats will take as the political party is an opponent to MDP as well as PPM/PNC. Mohamed Nasheed, the de factor leader of The Democrats was the biggest opponent of the leader of PPM Abdulla Yameen, up until MDP split up, leading to the formation of The Democrats. Prior to this election season, it would have been hard for anyone to even imagine that Yameen and Nasheed would come together to form a coalition which would result in a joint effort to make the next President of the country. However, this possibility has increased following the split within MDP that ultimately led Nasheed to form his new political party.
For the past decade or so, it was extremely hard to tell the difference between MDP and Nasheed, as he was the founder and the face of the political party. For years, just like any other political party and its leader, stating that you are a follower of MDP meant that you directly support Nasheed. However, this has changed over the past five years, following the election of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who is now seen as having the 'control' of MDP.
This split within the party came after the recent primaries, where the people of MDP ultimately chose Solih as their presidential candidate. Following this, Nasheed has formed his own faction within the party first, before forming his own party afterwards. He then also faced the possibility of a no-confidence motion being held against him by the MDP parliamentary group.
With all this taken into factor, it is extremely hard to imagine The Democrats joining MDP as well. However, with the second round of the election being the last one before the people choose who will represent them for the upcoming five years, both PPM/PNC as well as MDP are now open to forming a coalition with The Democrats.
As of now, PPM has already formed its first coalition with the Maldives National Party (MNP), and the leader of PNC has now stated that discussions are also underway to form a coalition with The Democrats. But there is no doubt that similar discussions are underway between MDP and The Democrats, with the final decision falling on The Democrats and its leaders.