There was a secret ballot during a Jumhooree Party meeting.
Gasim Ibrahim was found guilty of attempted bribery last August.
The opposition appears divided in its quest to field a unity candidate.
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.
Villa Group has experienced several setbacks since the Jumhooree Party split with the ruling coalition and allied itself with the opposition.
Ruling party and opposition supporters blamed each other for the fire.
Key opposition leader Gasim Ibrahim is the founder of Villa Group, which owns and manages resorts in the Maldives. The alcohol at his Fun Island resort...
Photos show protesters holding placards that said “Stop the damages and injury to Gasim” and “Against stealing and corruption”.
Ex-leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom made the comparison on National Unity Day, which marks the tsunami that killed 82 people in the Maldives.
The opposition Jumhooree Party (JP) is mulling the idea of presidential primaries and regional branches as part of reform efforts.
Hussein Rasheed Hassan says the bitter experiences the Jumhooree Party has had in the past prevent them from taking sides in the ongoing PPM dispute or...