Dr Ahmed Saud announces bid for presidency as independent candidate

Founding member of the government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and its former council member, Dr Ahmed Saud, has announced that he will be contesting in the upcoming presidential elections as an independent candidate.

Speaking to Minivan News, Saud said the decision to compete for the top office was a “very serious” decision based on the recommendation of many supporters.

“I will be contesting in the presidential elections. I have also informed the current and former presidents, President Waheed, President Nasheed and President Gayoom through Twitter that I have decided to contest in the elections,” Saud said.

Saud – who was a senior member of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) during its time of formation – said that he would file his candidacy as soon as the elections commission opens the opportunity.  The Elections Commission is expected to open the opportunity to file candidacy next week.

Dr Saud meanwhile said that he has several high-profile political figures and other notable individuals backing his bid for presidency.

“As you would know, I am one of the founding members of two of the largest political parties in the country, the DRP and PPM. Therefore I will have supporters in the political arena,” he said.

Saud also reiterated that his decision is not based on settling any personal feuds with any of the candidates who have already announced their candidacy and said that none of them “should be concerned about it”.

Speaking about the decision, Saud said that he was contesting in the election with the hope of establishing a government that has the vision and the knowledge to steer the country from its current state and lead it to prosperity.

When asked about his policies and election manifesto, Saud said that his manifesto is currently being completed and that he has assembled a team to work with.

“During the window period that comes after the elections commission opens the opportunity to file candidacy, I will begin unveiling my manifesto and policies,” he said.

Saud also dismissed the idea that contesting in the elections as an independent candidate was a disadvantage and said that “not all theories are proven right all the time”.

“I even support the multi-party system. But that system which I believe in is a party system that is based on proper democratic foundations and principles. In Maldives, unfortunately, we could not see that system within the last six to eight years,” Saud explained. “Instead, we still see a system that is not properly developed and a system that still has many legal loopholes. The political party system in this country has brought deep political polarizing and divisions,”

“Instead of political campaigning, what we see is hate mongering, blasphemy and character assassination in the name of campaigning,” he added.

Saud claimed that those who wished to work for the betterment of the country do not need to wait till the multi-party system gets properly developed and that the country’s development should not be hindered because of a dysfunctional party system.

“Therefore this is an important step I am taking for this country. The Maldivian people need to see options for them to vote as they face the elections.  It should not be candidates that are chosen by political parties that should be their only option,” he said.

Asked about his expectations, Saud said that he expects a first round election victory and that he is currently in talks with several political parties who have expressed interest in backing his candidacy.

“Like anyone who decides to contest in the election, I too am confident that I will win the election. Even though I am contesting as an independent, I am not targeting for the run-off elections. I am targeting for a first round election victory and I think it is very likely,” Saud said.

With his announcement, Dr Ahmed Saud becomes the fifth candidate who has announced their candidacies.

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Presidential Candidate former President Mohamed Nasheed, PPM Presidential Candidate Abdulla Yameen, Jumhoree Party (JP) leader and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim and leader of Gaumee Iththihaad Party (GIP) and current President Mohamed Waheed have all announced their bid for presidency.

All four candidates are currently campaigning vigorously throughout the country.