Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has never sought the spotlight or headlines.
The main opposition has five focus areas in its manifesto.
One minister hoped 'honest campaigning' could now begin.
Debate is raging about who should be the main opposition's presidential candidate.
The veteran lawmaker was appointed in a unanimous decision by 791 delegates at the MDP's congress.
The breakthrough came after weeks of indecision and bickering between the coalition partners.
Nasheed said he was acquiescing to concerns that MDP could be left without a candidate.
EU officials took up "the continuing deterioration of democracy in the Maldives."
Mohamed Nasheed and Gasim Ibrahim have both sought asylum overseas. Both have said they want to run for office.
The ruling party proposals come three months ahead of presidential elections.
The Elections Commission has made public a list of eligible voters for September's presidential poll.
The opposition appears divided in its quest to field a unity candidate.
The head of the electoral body is a loyalist of President Abdulla Yameen.
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was arrested in February during a state of emergency in connection with an alleged coup plot.
The election is expected to be in September and will be held against the backdrop of widespread criticism of civil and political rights abuses by President...
Around 130,000 migrant workers are believed to live in the Maldives, including 60,000 undocumented ones.
The government hit back after calls from Western ambassadors "to demonstrate genuine commitment to a credible, transparent, and inclusive election process."