Nasheed's party manifesto reveals plans for interim govt, early elections

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) manifesto for the upcoming presidential elections has revealed plans for an interim coalition government which would pave the way for early elections.

The manifesto dubbed 'Island Maldives' was officially announced during the ongoing MDP's extraordinary congress at Alif Alif Atoll Ukulhas island on Saturday.

According to the manifesto which has been divided into five main parts which includes 'island Maldives', 'blue economy', 'proud family', 'caring government' and 'justice'.

Under the manifesto, the coalition government would allow for the country's main opposition leaders who have now been denied the opportunity to contest by the incumbent government. In that regard, the opposition coalition government would hold office for 18 months before paving the way for the top opposition leaders to contest for the presidency.

"MDP believes that the new government should hold office for 18 months. In this 18 months, the government would establish independent institutions and empower political parties," MDP lawmaker Imthiyaz Fahmy said in the video to unveil the manifesto.

The new development means that MDP leader and self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed who on Friday withdrew from the presidential race could contest in 18 months if the opposition coalition wins the September elections.

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.

Nasheed's sudden withdrawal, has now united the once divided opposition and have finally agreed on nominating a single candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.

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.