PPM councillor to contest Dhiggaru by-election as independent

A Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) atoll councillor is contesting the upcoming by-election for the vacant Dhiggaru constituency parliament seat as an independent candidate.

Moosa Naseer Ahmed, also vice president of the Local Government Authority, had sought the ruling party’s ticket earlier this month, but withdrew his candidacy before last Friday’s primary.

Ex-president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s son, Faris Maumoon, won the primary with a margin of 147 votes after competing against a Meemu atoll councillor.

Gayoom, also leader of the PPM, told the press yesterday that the Dhiggaru seat was important for the party as cooperation from parliament is necessary to implement president Abdulla Yameen’s policies.

PPM deputy leader Ahmed Adeeb said the party’s goal was to win the by-election with a large margin of victory. The whole government was behind Faris, he added.

Naseer meanwhile told online news outlet CNM yesterday that he decided to contest as an independent at the behest of Dhiggaru constituents, who he said wanted a Meemu atoll or Dhiggaru native as their MP.

Naseer had represented Meemu atoll in the Special Majlis from 1983 to 1996 and served as the Meemu atoll member of the People’s Majlis from 1996 to 2000.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) candidate, Ahmed Razee, meanwhile filed his candidacy papers today.

Razee won the MDP ticket by default yesterday after the only other contender – ‘3A’ Ibrahim Jihad – in the primary scheduled for Monday dropped out.

According to newspaper Haveeru, a second independent candidate, Shameem Ali, has also submitted candidacy papers at the Elections Commission before a 3:00pm deadline lapsed today.

The by-election, triggered by a 25-year jail sentence handed down to former ruling party MP Ahmed Nazim, is scheduled to take place on June 6.