Former president Mohamed Nasheed submitted Saturday his candidacy papers as the sole contender in the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s presidential primary.
Along with support letters from 7,739 members, the application was handed over to the MDP chairman by MP Mohamed Aslam, the exiled opposition leader’s campaign manager.
The 51-year-old – who remains barred from contesting September’s presidential election due to a 13-year prison sentence – launched his Jazeera Raees (Island President) campaign earlier this month, proposing a “blue economy” manifesto focused on decentralisation, transitional justice and a low carbon development strategy.
The MDP is also pushing for a switch to a parliamentary system to legally accommodate coalitions between parties.
Teams of volunteers have been campaigning across the Maldives in recent weeks as Nasheed conducted daily Skype meetings with supporters. He is presently residing in neighbouring Sri Lanka.
The MDP primary is due to take place on May 30.
Some 30,000 members will be eligible to vote. The MDP published its voter’s list Saturday with a deadline of 12 pm on Monday to lodge complaints.
The main opposition party has faced criticism and questions over its democratic credentials with the single-candidate primary.
Despite the government’s intransigence in the face of calls by the UN to restore his right to run for office, Nasheed is optimistic about his candidacy.
In an interview with the opposition-aligned Raajje TV, Nasheed said the next government would lack legitimacy if President Abdulla Yameen is re-elected in a sham election without an opposition candidate.
“If President Yameen goes ahead without the candidate chosen by MDP members, there will be two governments in the Maldives,” he warned.
— 𝐌𝐚𝐢𝐦𝐨𝐨𝐧 (@Mrsays_) May 19, 2018
— Aneil Anni (@AnilAnnii) May 19, 2018
— Addu X Files (@adduXfiles) May 18, 2018
— Island President (@Batteyy) May 16, 2018
When a dictator jails the entire opposition…he forgot the times they are a changing 🎶…
— Shauna Aminath 🎈❓ (@anuahsa) May 15, 2018
— Mohamed Shifau #JazeeraRaees (@mhshifau) May 18, 2018
— Ahmed Niyaz (@AhmdNiyax) May 18, 2018
24 B'day in Dhoonidhoo Prison
25 B'day in Gaamaadhoo Prison
26 B'day in GaamaadhooPrison
29 B'day in Gaamaadhoo Prison
48 B'day in Maafushi Prison
49 & 50 B'days in exile
51 B’day in Exile
— #JazeeraRaees 💛🇲🇻💛 (@IllathHassan) May 17, 2018
#JazeeraRaees is compelling because it's the embodiment of a philosophy that frees us from forced migration & enable us to return home. #JazeeraRaees promises us the Maldives of our childhood without having to sacrifice our aspirations & all that we hope to be.
— Dhiyana 🎈 (@dhiyanasaid) May 18, 2018