Former President Mohamed Nasheed yesterday announced his candidacy for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidency – vacant since the national council removed former party president Dr Ibrahim Didi in April 2012.
Nasheed, who represented MDP in the 2013 presidential elections, is currently the interim president of the party after the National Council appointed him to the post on April 1.
Meanwhile, former party chair MP Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik reiterated calls for young leaders to come through the ranks, while refuting reports that he hoped Nasheed would not again stand for office.
Speaking with Minivan News today, Moosa – recently elected as Majlis deputy speaker – expressed the need for a “young and new” leadership in MDP.
“Deciding who will become the [permanent] President is in the hands of party members. I think is time for us, who have been in the leadership before to make way for a young leadership and step aside.”
Recently quoted in Haveeru as saying he hoped Nasheed would not compete in future presidential elections in order to make way for young leaders, Moosa told Minivan News that his words had been misunderstood.
The Hulhuhenveiru MP clarified that, since Nasheed is working to bring a parliamentary system, it would mean the most powerful position would be that of prime minister, and that Nasheed would not be then be running for president.
Time for young leaders
However, Moosa added that – though he still supports the parliamentary system “as the MDP has always done” – he felt that Nasheed’s calls to bring about the change immediately were premature.
“We were demanding a legitimate elected government in the Maldives, and we have one now. So I think we should give time for the people to breath and for economic and financial stability. The government should also be given an opportunity,” said Moosa.
“We saw what happened during our government, we should see how things go for this government instead of trying to destabilise the political environment.” Moosa said.
“The problem is less about the system of governance and more to do with powers of the state stepping into each other’s boundaries”.
He added that he would also be against anything done in cooperation with President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, referring to Nasheed’s suggestion that he would gladly work alongside the 30-year ruler to bring about the necessary constitutional changes.
Moosa said the appointment of Nasheed as the interim president could be a good move as he is an experienced politician, adding that his calls for a young leadership was inspired by Nasheed’s post-Majlis election statement calling for a new leadership and internal reform.
“I want new people to come forward to run the party. But I will not go away from the party, I will always remain in doing party work,” Nasheed said at the time.
Noting that there were capable and experienced candidates for future leadership, Moosa gave the example of former MP Ali Waheed.
“There was a similar thinking before back when Maumoon was in power. People though that no one else have the capability of ruling the country. And again later when Maumoon founded PPM, a young leadership came out of the party and are still holding posts. MDP have much more capable people,” said Moosa.
Nasheed and the MDP
President Nasheed – also a founding member of the party – acted as its chairperson from December 2005 until he won the primary for presidential elections in April 2008.
After winning the first ever democratic presidential elections in October 2008, he automatically remained leader of the party until his dramatic resignation in February 2012. According to internal regulations, when the party is not in power the highest authority of the party will be its president.
While Nasheed is the only candidate who has thus far announced candidacy, the official date for applications is Jun 15 – 25, with elections for president and chairperson of the party on August 29.
The MDP has also called for a National Congress – a gathering which includes representatives from all organs of the party across the country.
Initially planned to be held this weekend (June 6-7), the congress was today delayed due to difficulties in arranging a venue.
According to the party, discussions at this congress will include the restructuring of the party and proposals made by the members regarding the issue.