Maldives Reform Movement (MRM) leader, Faris Maumoon, has started seeking signatures to contend in the presidential elections as an independent candidate. This move comes amid questions regarding the party's legitimacy.
According to Elections Commissions (EC) regulations, independent candidates must submit their candidacy form with the endorsement of a minimum of 1,500 signatures.
Earlier, the party announced its primary elections for which Faris had been the only contending candidate. However, he is also preparing to contest as an independent candidate due to the legal obstruction faced by MRM.
According to the EC regulations, a political party must have a minimum of 3,000 members to be deemed eligible. The commission had earlier announced that MRM failed to meet the minimum membership threshold and, as a result, will be dissolved.
However, MRM successfully sought an interim injunction from the Civil Court to halt the EC's decision, and the commission's attempt for a review was unsuccessful. Despite this, the commission has excluded MRM from all its meetings with political parties related to the presidential election.
MRM's Secretary General Abdul Aleem has confirmed that Faris will contend as an independent candidate should the party lose its legal grounds to nominate a candidate.
Although the party initially announced to field Faris as its candidate, MRM is still part of the current Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) coalition. However, it recently announced its decision to exit from the coalition for President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's re-election bid.
Additionally, MRM addressed its concerns over the disputes that resulted in the party parting ways with the ruling party without a coalition tie renewal.
The party stated that it could not fully agree with all the policies proposed by MDP for President Solih's second term.
Despite its exit from the ruling party coalition, MRM has begun talks with Jumhooree Party (JP), another coalition partner that earlier announced its decision to contend separately, to form an alliance and field a single candidate in the elections.