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Maldivian Democratic Party

Maldivian Democratic Party

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The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is the ruling political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 in power of the Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

. It is a liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 party with its stated goal being the promotion of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 and democracy in the Maldives. This party won the first ever multi-party elections in the Maldives. The largest number of members among all the political parties in the Maldives is from this party.

There had not been political parties in the Maldives since 1952. The MDP initially submitted its registration on February 24, 2001. Although the Maldivian Constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 allows political parties to operate, the MDP's application was rebuffed. After the people fighting for their rights on the street and the death of Evan Naseem, MDP declared its existence in exile from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 on November 10, 2003. Initially, it was formed by a group of 42 people, which included members of parliament, a former cabinet minister and leading businessmen. Members on its first general council were elected on February 13, 2004. Although the MDP was not recognized by the Maldivian government, it began operating in Maldives on April 30, 2005.

In June 2, 2005, the members of the People's Majlis
Majlis of the Maldives
The Majlis of the Maldives or the People’s Majlis is the main legislature body of the Maldives. The Majlis has the authority to enact, amend and revise laws, except the constitution of the Maldives. Majlis is composed of 77 members...

 unanimously voted to legally recognize political parties. The MDP subsequently submitted its registration on June 26, 2005 becoming the first political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 to be registered in the Second Republic of Maldives.

Throughout 2006, the opposition faced restrictions on freedom of assembly
Freedom of assembly
Freedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangeably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests...

, and the government continued to arrest opposition activists. In March 2006, the government introduced a "Roadmap for Reform" and subsequently introduced several bills in parliament. In August 2007, voters decided via referendum that the Maldives' new constitution should provide for a presidential system of government (vice parliamentary). The special Majlis completed its work and the new constitution took effect in August 2008.

In accordance with the new constitution ratified by President Gayoom on August 7, 2008, the first round of presidential elections
Maldivian presidential election, 2008
Presidential elections were held in the Maldives on October 8 and 28, 2008. On October 8, no candidate gained more than 50% of the vote; a runoff was held on October 28 between Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed and his running mate, Dr. Mohammed Waheed Hassan. Nasheed and Dr...

 was held on October 10, 2008. As no candidate received 50% of the vote, a second round was held on October 29 between President Gayoom
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was President of the Maldives from 1978 to 2008. After serving as Minister of Transport, he was nominated as President by the Majlis of the Maldives and succeeded Ibrahim Nasir on November 11, 1978. He eventually became the longest-ruling head of government in Asia...

 and Mohamed Nasheed
Mohamed Nasheed
Mohamed Nasheed is a Maldivian politician. He is the current President of the Maldives. He is the founder of the Maldivian Democratic Party and was its presidential candidate in the October 2008 presidential election, defeating long-time President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in a second round of voting...

. Nasheed won with 54% of the vote. Members of parliament declared their political affiliations long before the October 2008 multiparty elections. Five opposition leaders were allowed to contest the presidential elections, and the principal opposition candidate was elected. President Nasheed is among the founders of the Maldivian Democratic Party.

At the first multi-party parliamentary elections in Maldives, on May 9, 2009, the MDP won 34% of the seats which is 26 out of the 77 seats in the parliament becoming the party to win the second most number of seats. However, in case of number of votes, MDP gained the most number of votes with 35.3% of the votes (50,562 votes) which is a 10.39% increase from the first round of 2008 Presidential Elections when MDP was not allied with any other party. From the elections DRP gained 27.5% of the votes (39,399 votes) which is a 12.5% decrease from the first round of 2008 Presidential Elections. Even though, the party started with 26 MPs after the parliamentary elections, the party gained 4 more seats to become the single party with most number of seats in the Parliament, People's Majlis. The MPs who signed up for the party include Alhan Fahmy who was a member of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party.

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