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Maldives ruling party submits president’s candidacy papers

The president did not hand his own papers in because he was busy.



The Maldives ruling party on Thursday submitted the candidacy forms for President Abdulla Yameen and his running mate to contest the September 23 election.

Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer handed over the forms to Elections Commission chief Ahmed Shareef.

Shareef told reporters the electoral body would announce a decision within 48 hours after deliberating on whether to accept the candidacy.

Yameen is the third candidate to submit an application for this year’s race.

In late July the EC accepted the candidacy of opposition candidate Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih and his running mate Faisal Naseem.

Independent candidate Hussain Naseer, with running mate Sheikh Nasrulla Musthafa, submitted the paperwork Wednesday and the EC is yet to decide on their candidacy.

The deadline for submitting forms is 4pm Friday.

Zameer said the candidacy papers were submitted in accordance with the Progressive Party of the Maldives governing statutes and election laws.

Yameen was awarded the party’s presidential ticket in May after a unanimous decision by its council to allow “the incumbent president to receive the ticket without a primary”.

But former PPM members, who support jailed ex-president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, say the party’s national congress must decide whether to hold a primary if a member wishes to challenge the incumbent.

Gayoom, the PPM’s elected leader, was expelled from the party following an acrimonious leadership dispute with his half-brother Yameen.

The PPM split was triggered by the elder Gayoom’s refusal to grant the presidential ticket to Yameen without a primary.

Zameer was at the EC with the PPM’s secretary general Abdulla Khaleel and Yameen’s campaign manager.

When asked why PPM lawmakers were absent he said “the MPs wanted a big procession but the party had to consider the difficulties it may cause to the public.”

He also said Yameen was unable to deliver his own candidacy papers because he was on an atoll tour “busy inaugurating projects after delays caused due to February 1,” a reference to a shock Supreme Court ruling ordering the release of Yameen’s enemies from prison.

But Yameen returned to the capital less than an hour after his candidacy papers were submitted to the EC.

– Death and development –

Yameen defended his policies during his three-day tour of Gaaf Alif and Gaaf Dhaal, telling people he had brought six times more development to the Maldives than previous governments.

“There isn’t a single island without development projects from this government,” he was quoted as saying by the state-funded Public Service Media.

Yameen also warned the opposition not to challenge him over delays in implementing the death penalty, a campaign pledge of his.

The Maldives in 2014 ended a six-decade moratorium on capital punishment, with Yameen declaring the island nation would be ready for executions in September 2017.

In January the government said executions would soon resume as work had finished on building a place to carry them out.

“Don’t challenge me. By God’s will, qisas (the right of a murder victim’s nearest relative to take the life of the killer after court approval) will be implemented under my government.

“Don’t doubt about this. I will be the one to do this,” he was quoted as saying by local media.

Three men are on death row after the Supreme Court upheld their sentences in 2016. The top court has had a flurry of death penalty cases with three murder trials heard so far this month.