President Waheed could contest elections under PPM ticket: Umar Naseer

Vice President of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Umar Naseer has said that Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan could potentially stand as a presidential candidate for the party.

Speaking to the Haveeru newspaper today, Naseer claimed that although no discussions had taken place with the current president over contesting on a PPM ticket – the door would be open for him to do so along with any other interested candidates.

The comments were made after Naseer was quoted last night in local media claiming President Waheed had confirmed to members of the coalition government that he would not stand for re-election.

Reportedly speaking on private broadcaster DhiTV yesterday, Naseer also said that if the current government aligned itself under one presidential candidate during the next general election, he was confident the coalition would be able to obtain victory within the first round of voting.

Sun Online quoted Naseer as adding, however, that the PPM should get the presidential ticket among coalition parties as it presently holds the largest number of elected representatives in parliament among government-aligned parties.

He was also quoted as pledging that he would back former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in a presidential primary contest if the one-time head of state ran for re-election.

“I am considering contesting in the presidential primary. It’s very likely that you will see me. If President Gayoom also decides to contest, I will be right behind him holding the flag,” Naseer was quoted by the Sun Online news agency as saying.

General elections are currently scheduled to be held by July 2013 at the earliest, despite calls from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the organisations like the Commonwealth for fresh polls to be held during 2012.

Gayoom founded the PPM last year after an acrimonious war of words with Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, the current leader of the former opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).

Thasmeen was initially approved by Gayoom to suceed him as the head of the DRP, the first political party founded by the former president.