Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Qasim Ibrahim on Thursday announced his decision to contest in the upcoming presidential election.
JP's council had passed a resolution stating it would contest in the election separately in a coalition led by a candidate from the party. It even opened applications for a presidential candidate, and the deadline expired today at 12:00 p.m.
Qasim's Special Envoy Ilham Ahmed confirmed that the party's leader was the only candidate who submitted their candidature when the deadline closed.
In a letter submitted along with his candidature, Qasim said that he nominated himself to follow the resolution passed by the party's council since no other candidate had submitted their applications before the deadline.
In line with the resolution, the JP has been in talks with other parties about forming a coalition ahead of the election. Recently, associates of former president and Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed's faction within the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) met with the leadership of the JP.
Earlier this month, JP leaders, including Qasim, met with the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM), led by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom and his son, Faris Maumoon.
Meanwhile, incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that he is awaiting a formal response from the JP on his invitation to continue with the ruling coalition government, of which the JP is a part, to secure a second term in office together.
The President said that Qasim's decision to separate from the coalition will pose challenges to the government, and if a consensus among the existing coalition partners cannot be reached, the coalition agreement has to be terminated.
Qasim has appointed JP's Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim to lead all matters regarding the presidential election.
So far, the candidates that have announced their intention to contest in the election are: President Solih from MDP; former Attorney General Dr. Mohamed Munnavar; and former Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer. The main opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) maintains that former President Abdulla Yameen is their presidential candidate; however, as of now, he is barred from running as he is serving an 11-year jail sentence. The opposition remains confident that he would be freed and that his name would be on the ballot.
The Elections Commission announced that the presidential election will be held on September 9.