Maldives ruling party holds presidential primary

Malé, Jan 28 (EFE).- The Maldives ruling party’s primary elections were underway on Saturday between incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and former president and speaker of the parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, ahead of presidential elections in the archipelago, scheduled to be held on Sep. 9.

Voting in the presidential primary election of the main party of the ruling coalition, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), began at 9 am.

A total of 57,000 members are eligible to cast their ballots in the election, which will conclude at 5 pm, according to the party.

The results of the primary election, the largest to date in the history of the Maldives, are expected to be announced in the evening.

During the two-week long campaign in the run-up to the primary, both candidates traded accusations of corruption and misuse of government funds.

Solih, who was selected as the party’s 2018 presidential candidate after Nasheed’s was declared ineligible to run by the Election Commission, accused his rival of corruption and negligence during his term as president, between 2008 and 2012.

“I know the formula to win the presidential elections.I was not elected to this post with the support of just one person. [I came to power] with the support and votes of thousands of people. I am only able to remain in this post, not with the support of just one person, but the support of and well-wishes of you all,” Solih said during an election rally, in which he defended his plan to run for president in the upcoming elections as the head of the same coalition with which he won in 2018.

For his part, Nasheed has accused the current president of misusing state funds to finance his campaign and buy voters in the primary, as well as neglecting the MDP and its policies and manifesto.

“There is no reason why we should elect President Solih for a second term. This is crystal clear if we look at how things are, the current situation,” Nasheed said.

Non-profit Transparency Maldives echoed Nasheed’s accusations, saying in a statement on Jan. 15 that the government must “stop the abuse of State resources and office, and work towards strengthening the Electoral Legal Framework and ensuring its effective implementation prior to the 2023 presidential election.”

Even as the ruling party votes to elect its candidate for the presidential elections, the candidate of the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) remains unknown after a Maldivian court sentenced former president Abdulla Yameen (2013-2018) to 11 years in jail in December for money laundering and accepting bribes during his term, in one of the biggest corruption scandals in the archipelago. EFE


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