Former president Mohamed Nasheed has relinquished the Maldivian Democratic Party’s presidential ticket, citing concerns that the main opposition party could be left without a candidate in September’s polls.
The decision will be announced at the MDP’s third national congress due to begin Saturday on Ukulhas island, the exiled opposition leader tweeted.
In light of the fact that @ElectionsMv have written to MDP saying that I can’t contest in the upcoming Presidential Elections, I have decided to relinquish my Presidential ticket. I hope to do this at MDP’s 3rd Congress. The EC’s decision is illegal and they must be sanctioned.
— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) June 29, 2018
The 51-year-old informed the MDP leadership and opposition lawmakers of his decision Friday morning, sources confirmed to the Maldives Independent.
It comes after weeks of uncertainty and bickering in the opposition coalition over fielding a single candidate to challenge President Abdulla Yameen. Coalition partners have been praising Nasheed even as his supporters express sorrow and disappointment on social media.
Jumhooree Party deputy leader Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan called the decision “a sadaqat to the Maldivian people” that has revived hopes for a unity ticket. The move was “courageous” and selfless, said Adhaalath Party spokesman Ali Nazeer.
MDP MP Abdulla Shahid, often touted as a possible contender, declared his support for parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as the party’s candidate. Other opposition figures have previously thrown their weight behind Ibu, a widely respected veteran lawmaker.
The party’s governing statutes must be amended with the consent of congress delegates to award the ticket with or without a primary.
He was found guilty of ordering the “abduction” of a judge after a widely condemned trial in 2015.
On February 1, the Supreme Court quashed his conviction in a landmark ruling by the full bench. But Yameen reacted by declaring a state of emergency and arresting the chief justice. A day after the security forces stormed the apex court, the three remaining justices rescinded the order.
In April, the government rejected the UN Human Rights Committee’s ruling to restore Nasheed’s right to run for office.
My prayer is you will be back to lead us, united with the people & the land you hold so dearly. My wish is that the country can do justice to the great man you are.
— Eva Abdulla 🎈❓ (@evattey) June 29, 2018
MDP AG will be changed tomorrow by the party Congress, to better reflect the prevailing circumstances n will elect a new presidential candidate to replace @MohamedNasheed . Hopefully the new candidate will be the single coalition candidate to take on @PresidentYAG https://t.co/konTmqM5AI
— Ibrahim Shareef (@AdduShareef) June 29, 2018
MDP has been forced to abandon the candidate of its choice – a choice made by over 43,000 party members! Why and what for are people being congratulated?
— Aeko Fathih (@aekofathih) June 29, 2018
He resigned his presidency in 2012 so that there may not be bloodshed. He now gives up his candidacy in 2018 so that fellow Maldivians may have victory over tyranny. Thats called putting "Nation First" over personal ambition.That's being honorable.
— A Ghafoor Mohamed (@aghafoormohamed) June 29, 2018
It’s heartbreaking that Prez @MohamedNasheed has decided not run in 2018 Presidential elections but he’s always put what’s best for Maldives first. Thank you, sir. You lead by example. Same way MDP has always had a primary & let its grassroots vote for someone to represent us.
— Farah Didi 🎈 (@FarahDidi) June 29, 2018
Without an oz of doubt. https://t.co/g0Wh6cwPrn
— Sheeza Aishath 🎈 (@SheezaAishath) June 29, 2018