DRP’s leader will be party’s presidential candidate

The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has decided that their candidate for presidential election will be the party’s leader, a decision made during the first day of the party’s third annual congress.

DRP spokesman Ali Solih said the party decided during today’s meeting that it would not hold primaries to elect the party’s presidential candidate, with “only a few of our supporters calling for primaries.”

DRP’s national congress meeting started at 3pm in Dharubaaruge, with former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom speaking at the opening ceremony.

DRP MP Ahmed Ilham said more than 900 DRP supporters attended the national congress.

He also said that former president Gayoom was given the special title of DRP’s ”Zaeem” (leader).

Former president of Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) and candidate for the DRP’s vice presidency Umar Naseer, who had called for primaries, said he respected the decision of the party.

”An amendment was approved concerning the party’s leadership, including a provision for the party’s leader to become the presidential candidate, which meant the amendment I presented was cancelled,” Umar said.

Spokesman for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Ahmed Haleem said that DRP’s decision not to hold primaries showed that the party’s members had confidence in current leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali.

Haleem said he did not want to comment on whether he considered the decision to be democratic.