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Maldives election a two-horse race

Former home minister Umar Naseer decided to sit out this year’s contest.



The 2018 presidential election will be a two-horse race between incumbent President Abdulla Yameen and joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu.’

Unlike the past two elections – when run-offs were needed as none of the multiple candidates secured above 50 percent – the outcome will be decided in the first round.

Of the three who applied by the August 10 deadline, the Elections Commission has accepted the candidacies of the president and opposition parliament leader, and rejected the application of a little-known businessman who sought to contest as an independent.

After announcing their intention to contest, former home minister Umar Naseer and former Local Government Authority vice president Shujau Hussain decided to sit out this year’s race.

Given the political situation, the September 23 poll is a referendum on the present administration rather than a chance to elect a leader with the best policies, Naseer said in a statement released Friday to explain his decision.

Naseer, who declared last week that he has collected the 1,500 signatures needed to submit candidacy papers, said, “my time has not yet come”.

He assured supporters that he would continue his political career.

In his press statement, Shujau cited “challenges” posed by the “dictatorial” rule of the incumbent and previous rulers.