Eight enter presidential race, after heated infighting

(Clockwise from L-R) Hassan Zameel, Faris Maumoon, Umar Naseer, Ilyas Labeeb, Qasim Ibrahim, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, and Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim. (Sun Graphics)

According to the Elections Commission (EC), eight candidates filed their candidacy for the upcoming presidential election – by the time the deadline expired at 02:00 pm Monday.

Candidacy for the election opened on July 23.

The eight candidates who have filed their candidacy are:

  • President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (MDP)
  • Dr. Mohamed Muizzu (PPM-PNC)
  • Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim (MNP)
  • Qasim Ibrahim (JP)
  • Ilyas Labeeb (The Democrats)
  • Former home minister Umar Naseer (Independent)
  • Former deputy defense minister Hassan Zameel (Independent)
  • Ahmed Faris Maumoon (Independent)

The first candidacy that the EC received had been that of PPM’s leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

However, the commission rejected Yameen’s candidacy due to his conviction for money laundering and bribery, citing Article 109 of the Constitution, which disqualifies candidates who have been sentenced to over 12 months in prison for a crime, unless it has been at least three years since they have completed their sentence or have been pardoned.

He unsuccessfully contested the decision with the Supreme Court, which ruled on Sunday that the EC was right to declare the opposition leader ineligible to contest the election.

The next candidate to file candidacy was President Solih, who is seeking a second term in office. He has picked North Hithadhoo MP Mohamed Aslam as his running mate.

MNP’s leader Nazim has also filed his candidacy, with Dr. Ahmed Adeel Naseer as his running mate.

Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb, the presidential candidate of The Democrats – composed of a breakaway faction of the ruling MDP loyal to its former leader Mohamed Nasheed – was the last to file candidacy on Sunday. He has picked Hussain Amr, the former managing director of the State Trading Organization (STO), as his running mate.

The rest of the candidates filed their candidacy on Monday.

The first was Muizzu, who has picked Faresmaathoda MP Hussain Mohamed Latheef (Sembe) as his running mate.

Next was JP’s leader Qasim, who has named the party’s deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim as his running mate.

Three independent candidates followed suit; MRM’s president Faris – whose party is locked in a legal battle with the EC over its decision to dissolve the party for failure to meet membership numbers mandated by law, former home minister Umar, and former deputy defense minister Zameel.

Faris picked Dr. Abdul Sattar Yoosuf as his running mate, Umar picked his longtime friend Ahmed Saleem (Maaz Saleem), and Zaleem picked his wife, Mariyam Aleem.

283,272 people are eligible to vote in the election, slated to take place on September 9.