Fayyaz warns Nasheed: You cannot run a separate movement within MDP

MDP's chairperson Fayyaz Ismail presides over a national council meeting. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Naail Hussain)

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader and Parliament speaker, former president Mohamed Nasheed’s refusal to back the party’s presidential candidate President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and threat to run a separate political movement within MDP has been hit with criticism from the party’s chairperson Fayyaz Ismail.

President Solih won the MDP presidential primary Saturday with 61 percent of votes. He won 24,572 votes while Nasheed won 15,631 votes – 39 percent.

In a message on the MDP national council group on Whatsapp on Monday morning, Nasheed said President Solih won the election by a “small margin”.

However, he refused to back President Solih, and said he planned on running a separate political movement within MDP under the moniker “Fikuregge Dhirun”.

“President Solih will lose many of the votes he purportedly received if we set aside the election rigging. But I estimate that with looking at the voter’s list, President Solih may have won by a small margin,” he said.

Nasheed said President Solih will not win the presidential election for MDP.

“I propose relaunching MDP’s branches in all islands under the moniker ‘Fikuregge Dhirun’, reinstate over 39,000 members removed from MDP, and for all of us to make a decision together,” he said.

Nasheed said the presidential candidate that will be supported by ‘Fikuregge Dhirun’ will be decided later, and that it would be easier to support a candidate who agrees to a shift to a parliamentary system ahead of the presidential election.

Fayyaz, who also serves as the economic minister in President Solih’s cabinet, responded that he does not believe a separate movement can be run within MDP without changing its rules and regulations.

He said that MDP’s presidential candidate is the candidate who wins its primary.

“I ask you to reconsider. I don’t believe you can do this without changing this party’s rules and regulations,” he said.

President Solih had invited Nasheed to work together with him during his victory rally Saturday. However, Nasheed refuses to support him, accusing him of rigging the election.