The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has suggested that Jumhooree Party (JP) presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim is “stuck” under the influence of advisers sympathetic to his political rivals.
Speaking to local media yesterday, PPM candidate Abdulla Yameen’s election agent suggested that former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members within the JP were working to bring former President Mohamed Nasheed back to power.
“Lately we haven’t seen any campaigning from Gasim. Or Gasim pitching his policies or manifesto. All we’re seeing him do is complain and launch attacks against rival candidates,” Abdulla Ameen told local media.
After both the PPM and the JP had mooted the idea of backing a single anti-Nasheed candidate in the upcoming vote, it was revealed by local media yesterday that the parties could not agree on a candidate.
Whilst the JP were said to have favoured incumbent President Dr Mohamed Waheed as the sole candidate, Yameen was reported to have rejected the proposal.
Campaigning for the presidential elections resumed in earnest last week after the Supreme Court scheduled a new date for the first round, annulling the previous poll held on September 7.
The court’s investigation of potentially fraudulent voting was initiated by Gasim’s JP after it finished in third place, just 2,677 votes behind the PPM.
Ameen yesterday predicted that Gasim would again fail to reach the run-off in Saturday’s re-scheduled election, branding any vote cast for the JP candidate “a waste”.
Current JP President Ibrahim Didi – formerly president of the MDP – has dismissed the PPM’s claims.
“It’s not true,” he explained, “But the reality is that the majority of members of JP don’t support PPM leadership in their policies.”
Didi left the MDP in acrimonious circumstances shortly after Nasheed’s controversial resignation in February 2012.
MP Alhan Fahmy left the MDP at the same time after both he and Didi were accused of making statements contrary to the MDP’s official position that the February transfer of power had amounted to a coup.
Fahmy has since returned to the MDP, as has former JP member Abdulla Jabir – both of whom have a history of party switching.
Gasim and Nasheed met last month to discuss matters of national interest and the maintenance of stability and public order.
Speculation regarding potential coalitions would prove premature following the court’s recent verdict, though when asked following the pair’s meeting Gasim stated that he bore no personal animosity towards any other candidates.
Nasheed meanwhile said that Gasim was “a family friend since childhood” who has offered good advice and counsel throughout the years.
The JP were initially aligned with the MDP following Nasheed’s victory over 30-year autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the 2008 presidential election.
The coalition lasted just a few months, with the JP later going on to form part of the ‘December 23’ coalition which led months of protest calling for the protection of Islam against the so-called irreligious policies of Nasheed’s government.
After subsequent unrest preceded a police mutiny and Nasheed’s resignation, the JP went on to form part of Dr Mohamed Waheed’s national unity government.
Waheed last week opted to withdraw from the re-scheduled election after receiving just five percent of the popular vote in the initial poll last month.