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President Solih invites political parties to discuss coalition for upcoming election

Malika Shahid
20 February 2023, MVT 15:15
Presidential campaign 2018: President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih with some of the senior leaders of the Coalition during the 2018 Presidential Election campaign. President Solih has sent a letter to party leaders requesting coalition discussion -- Photo: Mihaaru Photos
Malika Shahid
20 February 2023, MVT 15:15

The President has been given full power to negotiate with other parties for the presidential election.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has sent a letter to the political parties in the Maldives, inviting them to discuss forming a coalition with Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) for the upcoming presidential elections.

The letter was sent on behalf of the President on Sunday, to the ruling coalition parties. They are the Maldives' republican party, Jumhooree Party (JP), religiously conservative Adhaalath Party and the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM) founded by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

A member of the ruling coalition confirmed to Mihaaru News that they received a letter from the President requesting consultations.

The incumbent administration led by President Solih is the first instance since 2008, when democratic elections were first held in the Maldives, where a president was elected in the first round of voting. This is largely because a coalition was formed to run against former President Abdulla Yameen in the 2018 presidential election.

President Solih, who won MDP's presidential ticket after the primary election late last month, has said he intends to resume with the coalition with other parties to win a second term. The MDP National Assembly has given him all the powers to consult with political parties.

He also said he wants to win the election in the first round of voting and that this can only be achieved if all parties remain united in their current vision for the stability and development of the country.

The MDP congress passed a resolution, after reflecting on previous elections held in the Maldives, saying that a single party winning the presidential election is not feasible, nor is it a feat that has been accomplished by any one candidate. The resolution noted that the last presidential election in 2018 was won through a coalition as well.

As a result, the party's congress has given President Solih complete authority over coalition formation. This week, representatives on his behalf met with JP Leader and Maamigili MP Qasim Ibrahim. Details of the talks were not disclosed, but Hulhumalé MP Ali Niyaz who was at the meeting, said it was promising.

The JP has not yet decided on the presidential election. Whether Qasim will contest the first round of the election or remain in coalition with President Solih's government will be decided at the JP national conference starting next Friday.

While MDP is trying to form a coalition, the party's President Mohamed Nasheed has always maintained that a coalition government is not good practice. He expressed his dissatisfaction, stating that MDP's longstanding policies get overshadowed by the needs of the other coalition partners. Nasheed has even declared that he would not support President Solih in this election and that this would be a “golden opportunity” for Qasim.

After losing the presidential primary, he launched a political movement called "Fikuregge Dhirun" which translates to "reviving an ideology," within MDP.

Party Chairperson Fayyaz Ismail has urged Nasheed to abandon his stance regarding the upcoming presidential election and move forward with the party.