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JP announces to run in the presidential election separately

Lamya Abdulla
16 March 2023, MVT 08:08
Jumhooree Party's (JP)'s Leader Qasim Ibrahim at the party council on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru
Lamya Abdulla
16 March 2023, MVT 08:08

The Jumhooree Party's (JP) council unanimously agreed on Tuesday that they would run for the presidential election this year with their own presidential candidate.

With this announcement, the party has opened the door for other political parties to form an alliance with them.

Even though the council had passed that the party leader and Maamigili MP Ibrahim Qasim would be their presidential candidate, JP's Secretary General Ali Arif said on Wednesday that they would hold a primary election to determine their presidential candidate as per the party's regulations.

While the JP Council, of which Qasim is a member, passed this resolution on Tuesday, the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) had proposed to the JP that they move forward with the existing coalition agreement into the next presidential election cycle as well. However, since Qasim had not made a decision on the matter, JP's direction in this election was unclear until now.

JP members at the JP Council meeting on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 -- Photo: Fayaz Moosa/ Mihaaru

JP's Arif clarified on Wednesday that the party doesn't plan to leave the current government until the full presidential term is over, as agreed in the 2018 election.

A date to hold the primary election and formally give Qasim the party's presidential ticket has yet to be decided.

Qasim's qualms about the current administration

Qasim has recently been expressing his displeasure with the MDP-led coalition administration, especially in their failure to meet the pre-agreed matters in the coalition agreement. He had even expressed a desire to distance his party from the MDP in the first round of the election.

During the party's campaign event, "Thayyaaru" (meaning "ready"), Qasim said the party's size and approval ratings are too high for them to always be "left outside." He said the best way to serve the people the way the party wishes to serve them would be if they ran for office with their own candidate.

Qasim noted that no government had ever won a presidential election without their support before. MDP won the office in 2008 and 2018 after forming a coalition with JP. The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), which is now the main opposition, also joined forces with JP in 2013.

In every election held since the new constitution was put in place in 2008, Qasim has been the JP's presidential candidate. However, in 2018, the party aligned with the MDP due to the political climate at the time, and worked together to elect President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih without having to go for a runoff election.

In most elections, JP remains the third-most popular political party in the Maldives. Most of the votes are polled by candidates fielded by MDP and PPM.

The party's council members decided that JP should contest the election alone this time because MDP was too divided to come out together, and because the presidential candidate of PPM, former President Abdulla Yameen, is currently jailed, they believe that Qasim has a higher chance of succeeding in this election.

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