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Political parties spar over presidential picks

The ruling party says it can give the presidential ticket to anyone it wants, telling the opposition to put its own house in order.



The ruling party has hit back after one of its former members said it was against regulations to let President Abdulla Yameen run for a second term without holding a primary.

Mohamed Ameeth used to be in ex-president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s faction of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives. Gayoom and Yameen are half brothers and their feud split the PPM in October 2016, at the start of Yameen’s re-election campaign.

Not holding a primary went against the ruling party’s charter, Ameeth said in a Maldives United Opposition press conference on Monday. It was one of the reasons behind the PPM split.

Ameeth also said the party should uphold democratic principles even if there were different factions at work.

But PPM lawmaker and majority leader Ahmed Nihan retorted that the ruling party knew best.

“The PPM would know who to give the PPM’s presidential candidacy to, not MUO. Without challenging it, why don’t you give your own candidate a ticket engraved on smooth tin,” he tweeted last night, a possible reference to the opposition’s stuttering efforts to find a unity candidate.

“The PPM council has the power from its charter to give the PPM presidential ticket for the upcoming presidential elections to President Yameen without holding a primary, if the PPM council wanted,” tweeted the ruling party’s vice president Abdul Raheem Abdulla.

Ameeth said the opposition could later challenge the PPM’s presidential choice, adding the party’s council had no legitimacy after kicking people out.

Photo: Mihaaru