The Maldives main opposition will support a presidential candidate from another party if its own candidate is jailed or barred from contesting next year’s elections, one of several official declarations made about 2018’s key poll.
Hassan Latheef, the Maldivian Democratic Party’s secretary general, told media on Sunday that it would push to have its candidate run against President Abdulla Yameen but would endorse someone else if necessary. Latheef did not name anyone from the MDP but he was likely referring to the country’s former leader Mohamed Nasheed, who was imprisoned on a terrorism charge in March 2015.
Nasheed was granted political asylum in the UK later that year after he was authorised to travel for medical treatment. Since then his passport has been revoked and an arrest warrant has been issued over alleged misuse of state funds.
Latheef said the MDP would open candidate applications for the party’s presidential primary in March and that it would have its candidate by May. The target, he said, would be to have the MDP’s primary winner as the single candidate backed by the opposition coalition.
A post-election cabinet would comprise all the opposition parties and the Maldives would have a unity government.
“If the plans for a single candidate fail to materialise the MDP’s plan is that the MDP candidate will contest the election like the candidates of other political parties,” he said.
Preparation for the presidential election will begin in January and in May there will be a launch for the MDP’s campaign, candidate and manifesto, added Latheef.
While Nasheed has declared his interest in contesting the MDP primary he has also been advocating for a sole opposition candidate, telling an MDP committee in October that the 2018 president-elect should be a national unity candidate.
Maldives Independent, January 1, 2018