First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim is planning a symposium in September to “prepare leaders” for President Abdulla Yameen’s 2018 re-election campaign.
Briefing the press on behalf of the first lady’s campaign office today, Ibrahim Muaz Ali, who is also the president’s spokesperson, stressed that the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) is not involved in organising the symposium.
However, Muaz said representatives from all of the PPM’s island branches as well as island focal points working with the first lady’s office will participate.
“The purpose of this symposium is to prepare a batch of leaders across the country for President Yameen’s 2018 campaign – people that will work to achieve the same goal. They will receive training by experts on how to work on a campaign,” Muaz said.
“The main aim is to create leaders, especially ones that will be active in the atolls cooperating with First Lady Fathmath’s campaign office, to represent the work organised in this office in the islands.”
The first lady is currently overseeing all campaign activities, he said.
The next presidential election will take place three years from now in late 2018. Yameen narrowly won the 2013 presidential polls as the PPM candidate with the backing of several smaller parties.
President Yameen has not officially announced that he will be seeking re-election in 2018. Muaz said Yameen would only launch his campaign once he has fulfilled pledges made ahead of the 2013 polls.
Muaz said the symposium will be held at the Thaajuddeen School in Malé on September 3. The symposium will be divided into three sessions, with the first round focusing on members from the northernmost Haa Alif atoll to central Meemu atoll.
The second round will take place from September 11 to 12, focusing on members from Faafu atoll to the southernmost Addu atoll.
A date for the third session has not been finalised yet, Muaz said, but would involve PPM members from branches in Malé, the capital’s suburbs Hulhumalé and Vilimalé, and supporters living overseas.
Members attending the symposium will cover their own expenses, Muaz continued, but the campaign office might provide a “symbolic” amount.
PPM officials have previously said Fathimath had organized Yameen’s campaign in 2013 and have praised her for PPM’s win.