'Gasim will not contest on a PPM ticket': JP

Ruling coalition partner Jumhooree Party has hit back at former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom regarding comments he made about the party's leader, Gasim Ibrahim.

Rumors have been going around that PPM would not put forth a candidate for the 2023 election and that the party would endorse Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim at the last minute in the presidential election slated for next year.

Speaking at an 'India Out' event held at Villingili on Friday, Yameen said the rumors were an attempt to deceive the public. He said his party would sponsor a candidate for the 2023 elections and requested the public not to believe baseless tales spread by opponents. He added that the party would not allow any opportunity to Gasim Ibrahim.

'We will not back Gasim Ibrahim and pave opportunities for him because we lack a candidate,' he said emphatically.

The former President went on to say that as long as he remained in PPM leadership, the party would never join forces with any political figure linked to the stationing of Indian military officers in the Maldives. He also said the party would not take back any politician who left the party in its most significant moment of need. He described such members as boat crew who jump out of a sinking ship instead of saving it. His comments are believed to be targeted at members who left his side to join forces with Jumhooree Party.

In response to Yameen's statement, Jumhooree Party on Saturday said they were stunned that President Yameen had the audacity to speak ill of Gasim. The party said President Yameen was elected in 2013 with the endorsement of Gasim Ibrahim and that his cooperation was crucial in ensuring Yameen did not win the 2018 vote. The fact that President Yameen initiated criticizing Gasim on public platforms shows he is threatened by the support Gasim holds, and it did not surprise them, the party said.

The party further said it was other political parties that were seeking to form coalitions with JP and that there was no reason for Gasim to have to contest in the 2023 election on a PPM ticket. While Yameen has disparaged PPM members who left the party to join Jumhooree Party, the party said he spoke ill of them as he realizes their importance, JP further said.