The main opposition Progressive Party of Maldives has announced 42 candidates for the parliamentary elections in March.
The PPM ticket was awarded to 24 lawmakers and 18 loyalists of former president Abdulla Yameen without a primary contest last week.
In his first public appearance since leaving office, Yameen announced the awarding of tickets to 24 PPM MPs at an event Monday night.
The former ruling party’s parliamentary group was previously comprised of more than 40 MPs but several have joined the Jumhooree Party since the opposition coalition won September’s presidential election.
Yameen, who was elected the PPM’s president at a disputed congress in late September, said primaries would be held in other constituencies if there was more than one candidate.
The 18 candidates announced Thursday night included former legal affairs minister at the president’s office Aishath Azima Shukoor, former fisheries minister Dr Mohamed Shainee, former health minister Abdulla Nazim, and former state minister Ghassan Maumoon.
Ghassan’s father, former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, is one of the leaders of the four-party ruling coalition. Ghassan took his uncle Yameen’s side in the acrimonious dispute for the PPM’s leadership that led to Gayoom joining forces with the opposition last year.
Other candidates include former head of the State Electricity Company Ahmed Zuhoor, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party leader ‘Colonel’ Mohamed Nasheed, former ambassador to Germany Jameela Ali, PPM council member Zahid Rameez, and Channel 13 journalist Layal Manik.