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President Solih's referendum stand remains unchanged

Mohamed Rehan
25 September 2023, MVT 12:39
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during his door-to-door visits ahead of the runoff polls on September 30-- Photo: Nishan Ali | Mihaaru
Mohamed Rehan
25 September 2023, MVT 12:39

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said his stand for a public referendum to elect a governance system remains unchanged.

President Solih made this statement in response to speculations regarding his stance on the referendum, especially after parliament speaker Mohamed Nasheed's newly formed party, The Democrats, chose not to form an official alliance with either President Solih or the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) for the presidential election's runoff polls.

The Democrats conditioned the ruling party and its candidate for a public referendum before the runoff polls scheduled for September 30.

President Solih agreed for a referendum but said that a voting before the presidential election was not feasible. MDP agreed for a referendum in October after the runoff polls.

Although MDP agreed to The Democrats' term for a referendum, the newly formed party decided not to endorse any candidate for the second round of the elections.

Earlier, The Democrats' presidential candidate and Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb had submitted a resolution to the parliament, seeking a public referendum. This resolution received approval with the support of MDP members in the parliament. The decision was made to bypass presidential discretion and instead allow the parliament to directly instruct the Elections Commission (EC) to conduct the referendum voting before October 30.

Amid his door-to-door visits in Malé City, president Solih said that the resolution has been forwarded to him after parliament approval, and added he would proceed accordingly.

"I do not have any issues [about the resolution], but the party will make a decision after the [presidential] election," President Solih said.

Although President Solih had previously expressed concerns about the limited time available for holding a referendum to decide on a system of governance, he eventually acceded to The Democrats' demands in advance of the runoff polls. Additionally, it was reported that president Solih had engaged in discussions with Nasheed regarding this matter.

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