Former President and Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed, who lost the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP)'s presidential primary, has said he has no intention of leaving MDP or forming another party.
He was speaking at a lunch hosted for the campaign teams at Dhonmanik Sky View Restaurant in Malé.
Nasheed said he wanted to see a separate branch in MDP called "Fikurrege Dhirun" which roughly translates to Reviving an Ideology.
"MDP is the only political party I know. And I don't think it [the party] will ever be abolished. It is a party which will not lose. It is a strong party," Nasheed said, addressing supporters for the first time since he lost the primary election.
Nasheed said he never intended to leave MDP.
"I think we can be organized within the party. The party's bylaws will also allow for this. The party's spirit and its principles will also allow for this," Nasheed said.
He said that MDP was formed 20 years ago without having such an opportunity. Therefore, there is no way to prevent Nasheed from creating a party branch under “Fikuregge Dhirun” slogan for the presidential primary campaign, Nasheed said. However, party chairman Fayyaz Ismail has asked Nasheed to reconsider forming a separate branch.
During the primary campaign, he visited about 2,000 households in the past month and according to what he heard during his campaign trail, he wanted people who wanted to become independent without relying on the government.
During the meeting, he did not give a clear answer to questions raised about whether he would contest in the presidential election on his own. Nasheed said he is now working to reach 50,000 members by forming different branches in every island under the "Fikurrege Dhirun" slogan.
By the end of July, this number will be achieved and MDP will decide what is the best way to win the presidential election, he said.
"My aim is to find the best way for the party. We will continue to work in such ways that will allow for the party to win. We cannot make the 2023 presidential election a loss for MDP. This is an important work," he said.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the MDP presidential primary with 61 percent of the votes. He had invited Nasheed to join him in the the party's efforts to win the 2023 presidential election.
In response to a journalist's question, Nasheed said "people" were not important in his political life, and instead principles and philosophies are important.
When asked whether he would form a coalition with the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) to be a part of the ruling administration under any circumstances, Nasheed said that President Solih came to power in a coalition which included former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He said he had always aimed the country to have a government that would implement the MDP philosophy and he would work towards this.