Azim: Only discussion held with Qasim is regarding backing a common candidate

Parliament Speaker, former president Mohamed Nasheed (L) and Jumhoory Party leader Qasim Ibrahim (R). (Sun Graphics/Ibrahim Faheem)

Parliament Speaker, former president Mohamed Nasheed’s party, The Democrats, on Monday, has stated that the only discussion the party held with Jumhoory Party (JP) was regarding backing a common candidate.

Sun has learned that Nasheed proposed several demands to back Qasim’s candidacy in the presidential race; one of them being an exchange for “buying” 13 MPs to join The Democrats.

A close aide of Qasim, who wished to remain anonymous, told Sun he outright rejected the demand.  

On the contrary, Central Henveiru MP Ali Azim who participated in the discussions held with JP on behalf of The Democrats told Sun that no additional demands were made apart from backing a common candidate.

“The main discussions we held on that day were regarding backing a common candidate. The talks revolved around a way for all these parties to come together,” he said.

Azim denied any additional talks took place between the parties.

JP and The Democrats held further discussions after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih named MP Mohamed Aslam, another lawmaker from the populous southern city, as his running mate on Saturday.

Top officials from Democrats - former president’s office minister Mohamed Shifaz, Hussain Amr, and MP Ali Azim – visited Qasim at JP headquarters the same day.

The close aide of Qasim who shared the demands, denied by Azim, said JP informed the Democrats of Qasim’s decision the same day, after which Ilyas named Amr as his running mate, and filed his candidacy.

“When they asked Qasim to give 13 MPs to Democrats, he said it would be better to spend money on the campaign, rather than on that. He rejected it outright,” said the source.

Qasim, after submitting his candidacy form this morning, briefly addressed why discussions with other political parties had been unsuccessful – which is the fact that each party wanted to produce its own candidate for the first round.

Nasheed’s faction, after their departure from main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), held another round of discussions with JP as well which had ultimately also been unsuccessful.