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Support for Ibu if Nasheed barred from election

The veteran lawmaker has been described as the ideal candidate because of his efforts to unify the parties and political leaders within the Maldives United Opposition.

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Lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof and former attorney general Husnu Suood have thrown their weight behind MP Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih if former president Mohamed Nasheed is barred from contesting this year’s election.

Mahloof said Ibu, the parliamentary group leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party, was the ideal “single opposition candidate” because of his efforts to unify the parties and political leaders within the Maldives United Opposition.

“He has worked tirelessly to unify the opposition parties, taken risks for political progress and worked closely with leaders of different political views,” he said on Sunday, adding that the opposition parties and leaders have confidence in the veteran lawmaker.

Mahloof also believed opposition candidates should run separately in the first round of the election if Nasheed and Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim were allowed to stand.

The opposition coalition would work together in the second round of the election, he guaranteed.

Mahloof, an independent MP, backed the MDP because it had provided him with “support and courage since his expulsion from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.”

“It turns out, today, that I have come to accept the ideologies and principles of MDP,” he said. “Looking at the lessons learnt from the experience over the past four years, I am happy to have participated and made a contribution in the MDP’s journey, that began years ago, to ensure the rights guaranteed in the constitution and establish separation of powers.”

Nasheed must run on behalf of the MDP if he was not barred because of his vital role and sacrifices for the party, said Mahloof.

Nasheed was recently awarded the MDP’s presidential ticket after a primary where he secured almost 44,000 MDP member votes.

But the Elections Commission contends he cannot contest the election because of prison sentence on a controversial terror charge.

His trial was widely criticised, with prominent voices from the international community condemning the proceedings and outcome.

The MDP believes Nasheed can run after a Supreme Court ruling which ordered his release. Gasim is also ineligible, both due to a bribery conviction and constitutional age limits.

President Abdulla Yameen is running for a second term on behalf of the PPM while his former home minister, Umar Naseer, is running as an independent candidate.

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