The Maldives voted in their first real free legislative election on May 9. As a brief recap, in the country’s first free election in 2008, Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party defeated the incumbent dictator, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party. I briefly covered those elections here.
It seems this election used FPTP in 77 single-member constituencies. A majority is 39 MPs.
Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party 28 seats (projected PV: 25%)
Maldivian Democratic Party 26 seats (projected PV: 31%)
Independents 13 seats
People’s Alliance 7 seats
Dhivehi Qaumee Party 2 seats
Republican Party 1 seat
The DRP and the People’s Alliance hold 35 seat, and the current MDP-DQP-Republican alliance holds 29 seats. However, the Maldives has just become the latest country to experience the worst electoral system possible, FPTP. A great article on Maldives News outlines how FPTP sucks, not just in the Maldives, of course:
Let me give you an example: suppose we hold an election of three seats. In two seats, the DRP wins with ten votes to the MDP’s nine. In the third seat, the MDP wins by ten votes to the DRP’s one.
In the above example, the MDP won a total of 28 votes, the DRP won 21 votes. However, the DRP wins two seats and the MDP only wins one.
Similar scenarios happened up and down the country in the parliamentary elections. In fifteen constituencies, the MDP candidate lost by less than 100 votes. In seven constituencies, the MDP lost by fewer than 50 votes.
As you see, the MDP won 31% to the DRP’s 25%, and even if you total the opposition coalition, their numbers remain inferior to the MDP’s 31%. The government lost since the MDP, DQP and Republicans failed to agree on common candidates, mainly due to the fact that the DQP and Republicans are egomaniacs. Such a coalition would probably have had a majority, but, as the Maldives News article points out later on, this coalition would have had a minority of loyal MDP members, and a majority of unruly egomaniacs from the DQP and the Republicans.
The Maldives run under under a presidential system, a system adopted in a 2007 referendum. The presidential system, supported by the then-governing DRP, won 61%. Nasheed will undoubtedly stay in power, and he has enough votes to block most attempts by the opposition to screw around.