Former president Mohamed Nasheed announced Tuesday night his intention to contest in the upcoming parliamentary elections in March.
The 51-year-old is running for the newly-formed mid-Machchangoalhi constituency in Malé.
“The Maldivian people will no longer elect thieves to the People’s Majlis,” he declared at the campaign launching event in Kaaminee Magu, referring to a former ruling coalition lawmaker’s admission of distributing “sacks of cash.”
The main purpose of his election bid is to protect President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration, Nasheed said, adding that the four-party coalition that brought Solih to power must also be maintained.
The future of the alliance remains unclear after the Maldivian Democratic Party adopted a resolution proposed by Nasheed to field candidates in all 87 constituencies, a decision coalition partners contend was in breach of an agreement to jointly contest the Majlis election.
The president and coalition leaders were in attendance at the rally in the capital’s central ward.
Solih, who defeated former president Abdulla Yameen as the joint opposition candidate in September’s polls, was named as an “alternative” to Nasheed as the opposition leader was barred from contesting due to a 13-year prison sentence.
The Supreme Court quashed his terrorism conviction last week.
Nasheed was previously elected to parliament after winning one of two Malé seats in 1999.
But he was stripped of his seat and jailed on trumped-up charges in 2001 after advocating democratic reforms. He was convicted of theft for taking papers left in a rubbish heap after the demolition of former president Ibrahim Nasir’s house Velaanage.