Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) on Wednesday extended an invitation to the leader of Jumhooree Party (JP), Qasim Ibrahim, to join forces with President Abdulla Yameen for the upcoming Presidential Election "without any conditions".
The invitation comes amidst strained ties in the opposition alliance, over its failure to nominate a single candidate to beat President Yameen in the election this year, as per its initial vow. The opposition parties now appear to be heading towards separate candidates from each.
PPM invited Qasim via tweet by the party's secretary general and Nilandhoo MP Abdulla Khaleel, who declared that JP's coalition partner Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) would not give leeway to any other political party in the race for presidency.
Stating that MDP has "betrayed you again", he urged Qasim Ibrahim to join forces with President Yameen, whom he described as patriotic and loyal to the nation.
The betrayal Khaleel mentioned was a reference to the Presidential Election 2008, which former President Mohamed Nasheed of MDP won with the support of coalition partners, JP and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party. MDP had promised at the time that it would include its coalition partners in its regime. However, the coalition had fallen apart shortly after Nasheed assumed office.
While PPM has reached out to Qasim Ibrahim, the local tycoon had originally joined forces with the party after he lost the first round of the Presidential Election 2013. After President Yameen rose to power with JP's support, Qasim had served in his administration until he sought to rise to position of Parliament Speaker, resulting in a fallout with the government.
Subsequently Qasim Ibrahim changed allegiance to MDP again, claiming that it was in defence of the Maldivian Constitution. With the shift, Qasim also began to harshly slate the government, after which he was faced by various investigations resulting in financial constraints that affected his conglomerate Villa Group. Qasim had withdrawn from the political scene temporarily, before reemerging in a coalition with MDP, Adhaalath Party and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
The opposition alliance had declared it would announce a single candidate to beat President Yameen. However there is conflict of opinion amongst the coalition members, as both JP and MDP are pushing for their own candidates.