Nasheed: Chairperson must find a way for MDP to move forward with two factions

Parliament speaker and MDP's leader Mohamed Nasheed speaks at a press conference on January 16, 2023. (Sun Photo/Naail Hussain)

The emergence of two factions within the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is no reason for members of one faction to leave the party, and the party’s chairperson Fayyaz Ismail must find a way to move forward with both factions, states MDP’s leader and Parliament speaker Mohamed Nasheed.

The deepening rift within MDP – fueled by the difference of opinion between the party’s two top leaders Nasheed and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih - had been at the forefront of the ruling party’s recent presidential primary, which President Solih won over Nasheed with 61 percent of votes.

Nasheed has refused to support President Solih as MDP’s presidential candidate, and has called for the formation of a 50,000-member separate branch within the party under the name ‘Fikuregge Dhirun’ – which had been his campaign slogan for the primary.

In an interview to Dhivehi Channel on Tuesday night, Nasheed said that MDP must accept its current state, and that the party’s chairperson must find a way to move forward with both factions, in order to prevent further division.

“The ‘Fikuregge Dhirun’ branch can be run within MDP. This is useful. The primary mission of the branch must be to restore MDP to its ideology, its principles, its philosophy, and its values. MDP clearly has two factions. I believe the party’s chairperson is a capable individual. He must know how to manage two factions. He would know,” he said.

Nasheed said that MDP would always do whatever was necessary to ensure victory, and that the person in the position of the party’s chairperson would always be someone who knows it well.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (C) with MDP leader, former President Mohamed Nasheed (L) at the inauguration of MDP Councilors Conference on August 22, 2019. (Photo/President's Office)

Nasheed also shared his concerns over the recent MDP primary. He said that the voters had been people on a “doctored” list and that the removal of 39,000 members ahead of the election was evidence of that. He also said that unregistered voters had voted in the election.

The allegations made by Nasheed regarding the removal of 39,000 members has been repeatedly denied by MDP.

Speaking about the upcoming presidential election, Nasheed said that all political leaders in Maldives must give careful consideration regarding the election. He said that he would do whatever necessary to ensure a peaceful change in government.

Nasheed had held MDP’s ticket in all presidential elections after the introduction of the multi-party system, until a now-overturned conviction disqualified him from the presidential election in 2018. MDP’s congress, with the backing of Nasheed himself, decided to present the ticket to President Solih – who went on to win the election.

In his victory rally after the MDP primary, President Solih invited Nasheed to work together with him. However, Nasheed refuses to support him.