Interim Vice President of the pro-government Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Umar Naseer has said that the opportunity was available for President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik to become the PPM candidate in the presidential election.
At a time when rumors are rife that discussions were underway to make President Waheed the PPM’s presidential candidate, Umar stressed that the party’s door was open for every interested person.
However, Umar confirmed that no such discussions had taken place with regard to Waheed contesting the presidential poll on a PPM’s ticket.
“The PPM’s ticket won’t be served on a platter. That had been a bitter experience. Hence even if it’s President Waheed, Gasim Ibrahim or anyone else, the PPM’s gate would remain open,” he added.
Umar further revealed that President Waheed had earlier assured the coalition political parties that he would not contest the elections in a way that would undermine the harmony of any party of the coalition.
However, he did not disclose whether Waheed had given the assurances before or after assuming the presidency.
“The members of the coalition would be aware of it. During that meeting he had assured us that he would not contest in the election,” Umar detailed.
He further said that he believed that three political parties within the coalition could face internal disruption if Waheed decides to run for the presidency.
The three parties include, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) and Jumhoory Party, Umar said.
“There are already two candidates who have announced that they would contest the election. They are Gasim Ibrahim (Jumhoory Party) and Ahmed Thasmeen Ali (DRP). DQP and DRP have formed a coalition. So if Waheed contests the election it could disrupt the harmony of the three parties as they have all closed the gate,” Umar claimed.
“PPM has no such issues and Waheed is also welcome.”
Umar also claimed that PPM would always strive to strengthen the democracy within the party which was the reason why any member was welcome to contest for any post in the party.
Umar himself had entertained the idea of contesting the PPM presidential primary.
Meanwhile, PPM Parliamentary Group leader Abdulla Yamin had also publicly expressed his intention to run for president, but would have to win the party’s primary to secure the PPM ticket.
On the contrary, Jumhoory Party had already declared that party leader Gasim Ibrahim was the candidate for the election, while DRP basic regulation states that its leader would be the presidential candidate, which means that the candidates from the two parties have already been decided.
The largest political party and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is scheduled to hold its presidential primary next month, where former President Mohamed Nasheed is the solitary candidate.