President Solih to head to Sun Island to meet Qasim for coalition talks

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and JP's leader Qasim Ibrahim. (Sun Photo/Fayaaz Moosa)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is scheduled to head to Sun Island Resort to meet Jumhoory Party (JP)’s leader Qasim Ibrahim for coalition talks with respect to the runoff round of the presidential election slated for September 30th.

A senior official from JP confirmed to Sun that President Solih will head to Sun Island Resort sometime today, for a meeting with Qasim.

The scheduled meeting between President Solih and Qasim comes after the latter met with a delegate of senior officials from opposition PPM-PNC coalition at Sun Island Resort on Tuesday night.

JP was initially scheduled to make a decision on their stance for the runoff in the council meeting today; a meeting which has now been delayed in light of the ongoing discussions.

Despite political differences, close aides of Qasim still hold senior posts in the current administration including his wife, Aishath Nahula, who serves as the transport minister.

However, during his campaign as JP’s presidential candidate, Qasim had strongly criticized the current administration – stressing the administration needs to be changed, no matter what.

JP – a party of over 23,000 members, won just 5,460 votes in the first round of the presidential election on Saturday – which was two percent of total votes.

The party had contested the election after rejecting an invitation extended by President Solih to form a coalition from the onset.

Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, the PPM-PNC candidate, secured the highest votes, with 46 percent, meaning 101,613 votes. His closest competitor, MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the incumbent president, won 39 percent, meaning 86,161 votes.

JP had been the choicest partner for coalitions in runoffs in past elections. However, with its poor performance this election, most of the focus falls on the Democrats, who came in third in the election with 7.18, meaning 15,839 votes.

In 2008, JP won 27,057 votes – which was 15 percent of total votes. And in 2013, JP won 48,131 votes – which was 23 percent of total votes. Then-president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, PPM’s presidential candidate, qualified for the runoff that year by beating JP by a slim margin.

The administrations that were elected in both 2008 and 2013 had succeeded in the election through coalitions that included JP.