Adhaalath, which identifies itself as an ‘Islamic political party’, was launched in 2005. Although it has never won a seat in parliament, its increasing (ab)use of Islam as a political tool has won it substantial influence over large segments of society. While it was once described in local media as ‘an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt ’, it is hard to say what the Adhaalath Party in its current form stands for. Even the party itself does not seem to know.
The current leader of Adhaalath is Sheikh Imran Abdulla, one of the chief orchestrators of the 7 February 2012 coup. Together with other hard-line ‘Islamists’ such as Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed, the Islamic Affairs Minister and fire and brimstone preacher Sheikh Ilyas Hussein, Imran has been leading Adhaalath from one politically expedient alliance to another, leaving it bereft of any identifiable ideological or religious principles. Adhaalath’s strongest moment was on 23 December 2011, when its rally to ‘Defend Islam’, purportedly against the irreligiousness of Mohamed Nasheed’s leadership, brought out the largest number of Maldivians ever to take part in a politico-religious rally on the streets of Male’. Since then, however, its flip-flopping on religious principles and easy sale of ideological stances for the sake of political gains, has lost it thousands of followers both in Male’ and other islands.
At the beginning of this election campaign, Adhaalath was backing incumbent Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik in what was then called a Broad Coalition comprising of all substantial political parties except MDP [Maldivian Democratic Party]. At the time, its leaders announced at various political and religious podiums that backing Waheed was a religious duty of every Maldivian Muslim. In June, however, it switched allegiance to Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Party, forming what has been called the Jumhooree Coalition. Since then, Adhaalath leaders have been preaching that it is a religious duty of every Maldivian Muslim to vote for Gasim Ibrahim to ‘defend Islam’.
Backing: Gasim Ibrahim, Candidate No: 1, Jumhooree Party
Number of members: 10,000