Maldives opposition agrees on single candidate after Nasheed's withdrawal

Maldives' united opposition late Friday finally agreed on nominating a single candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.

The agreement was reached hours after self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed announced his withdrawal from the presidential race in September.

The main opposition leaders including former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Nasheed along with Gasim Ibrahim 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 appeared to have fractured with Nasheed contesting and winning the highly disputed presidential primary held by his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). Nasheed had also pressed ahead with his campaign despite the country's electoral watchdog refusing to accept his candidacy.

Hours after Nasheed's withdrawal, the four leaders in a joint statement said the opposition have now reached an agreement to join forces against incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

According to the long awaited agreement, the presidential candidate would be from MDP while the running mate would be nominated by Gasim's Jumhoory Party (JP).

MDP's presidential ticket is now expected to be given to its parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Nasheed's sudden announcement came days after Solih flew to Sri Lanka to meet with the MDP leader.

However, JP's nomination for the opposition running mate remains unclear.