Gasim to relinquish JP leader post

Self-exiled business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim is set to relinquish his post as the leader of opposition Jumhoory Party (JP).

As the party gears up to hold its congress on Thursday, JP had opened top posts including leader, deputy leader, president and vice president for interested members.

Former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed who recently joined JP is widely tipped to replace Gasim as party leader.

The business tycoon who now lives in self imposed exile in Germany after he was convicted of bribery and sentenced to over three years in prison in August last year via a Facebook video said he has been forced to relinquish his post due to his criminal conviction.

But he vowed to remain with the party and its loyal members.

During the same video, Gasim had also announced his government with a shadow cabinet which included key members of former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP).

The former lawmaker had named himself as president with former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed who had recently joined JP as his deputy to lead a government of 20 ministries. Notable members of Gasim's shadow cabinet included Gayoom's two daughters, AP leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, jailed former defence minister Colonel Mohamed Nazim while Gayoom's now jailed lawmaker son Faris Maumoon had been named as the parliament Speaker.

The main opposition leaders including former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed along with Gasim and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla inked pact to form what they called a 'reform alliance'.

With the candidacy of the four leaders - all convicted and serving sentences on questionable charges in serious doubt, the united opposition had announced plans to nominate a single candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.

However, the coalition now seems to have fractured with Nasheed contesting and winning the highly disputed presidential primary held by his party recently.

Elections Commission had said it would not accept the result insisting that Nasheed remains a convicted criminal who is constitutionally ineligible to contest.

The omission of Nasheed's MDP from Gasim's coalition government points towards a now broken up coalition with just a few months remaining for the elections which has been slated for September 23.

Gasim said the names included his government were picked based on allies who appear most likely to work together with his party for the elections and beyond.