'Cannot change the presidential candidate once determined'

The main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) 's Vice-Chairperson, Ibrahim Waheed (Ibre), has said that the party's presidential candidate cannot be changed even if the forms are filled and submitted for the 'Fikurehge Dhirun' branches.

MDP's President and Parliament Speaker, Mohamed Nasheed, last week lost the party's presidential primary to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih by a huge margin. Although Nasheed has conceded defeat, he has said that President Solih cannot win the September presidential election and that opportunity must be given to creating new branches of the party under his campaign slogan, Fikurehge Dhirun. He has asked to re-register those who he claims were removed from the party due to them supporting him and letting them be part of determining a candidate who will contest the presidential election on the party ticket.

Speaking at a press conference at the MDP office on Thursday, Ibre said there was no circumstance in which a presidential candidate could be changed after being determined according to the party's Constitution. However, if the candidate gives up the presidential ticket, the candidate can be changed, he said.

"The MDP constitution does not allow the presidential candidate to be changed," he said.

Ibre said if the party members wish to change the candidate, they can do so by amending the party's Constitution. The MDP Constitution can only be changed at a congress held by the MDP.

Ibre added that holding the congress is permissible under the Constitution. However, he does not believe that the current circumstance calls for a congress to be held.