The council of the Progressive Party of Maldives decided unanimously Tuesday night to give its ticket to President Abdulla Yameen.
MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla, the ruling party’s deputy leader, told the press that the council wants the president to continue his development agenda and complete flagship projects.
He said Yameen deserves the ticket for his stance against religious freedom and his resolve to protect Maldivian independence and sovereignty.
The council’s decision was made in compliance with the party’s charter or governing statutes, the lawmaker insisted.
The rules allow an incumbent president to receive the ticket without a primary. However, delegates at a national congress must decide whether to hold a primary if a member wishes to challenge the incumbent.
The decision has drawn criticism from supporters of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the PPM’s elected leader who 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. The former strongman is presently standing trial on terrorism charges over an alleged coup plot.
Opposition leaders meanwhile remain barred from challenging Yameen in September’s polls.
Yameen’s re-election campaign was launched by First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim in January last year. She has since overseen several campaign events, toured the atolls with teams of lawmakers and ministers, and started door-to-door visits in the capital.
Photo of PPM council members by Public Service Media