'Would not have contested if Shahid was running in the primary'

Parliament Speaker and the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) 's presidential primary candidate, Mohamed Nasheed, has said he is contesting the primary because Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid is not running in the election.

Nasheed will go head to head with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in MDP's presidential primary slated for January 28.

Speaking at a campaign rally held at R. Dhuvaafaru on Tuesday, Nasheed, who is also MDP's President, said he had relayed that he would not contest the primary if Abdulla Shahid was a candidate.

"I told Shahid before I applied to contest, that if he wanted to contest, I would not pursue this," Nasheed said.

Nasheed said he expected two candidates to contest the primary, them being Abdulla Shahid and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Nasheed said he chose to contest when it became apparent to him that Shahid was not someone interested in contesting the primary.

"I'm a person who faces competition and contests. That's why I'm going contesting [the primary]. Hopefully, we will win this election," Nasheed said.

Nasheed spoke about his contender and said few people are willing to vote for President Solih. If President Solih ended up winning MDP's presidential ticket, MDP is unlikely to win the 2023 presidential election, he said.

"There are too many people who say they will not vote for President Solih," Nasheed said.