JP to decide opposition running mate next week

Opposition Jumhoory Party (JP) would decide the opposition running mate during a council sit-down slated for next Tuesday, the party has announced.

Under the opposition parties' alliance agreement, JP would nominate the running mate to stand for the upcoming presidential elections with main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) nominated presidential candidate.

MDP on Saturday selected the party's chief government lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to lead the opposition alliance in the September elections.

MDP during its extraordinary congress on Saturday amended its charter to award the party ticket to the veteran lawmaker Solih after self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed pulled out of the September elections who's candidacy had been rejected by the country's electoral watchdog citing his terrorism conviction.

Nasheed's refusal to back-down earlier had threatened to destroy the once unimaginable alliance he had formed with former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the other two opposition party leaders - Gasim Ibrahim and Sheikh Imran Abdulla.

But 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.

However, the delay in deciding a running mate has sparked rumours of rift within JP with several top party officials reportedly vying for the nomination.

JP leader Gasim's wife, two party lawmakers along with four of their deputy leaders have reportedly expressed interest while some have had social media campaigns promoting their respective nomination.

Speaking during a press conference on Tuesday, JP secretary general Ahmed Sameer said the party had agreed on timelines for the elections which included the running mate nomination.

He also insisted that each and every member of the party would have the opportunity to seek the nomination.

However, he urged members vying for the nomination to respect the principles of the party and avoid undermining the unity of the party.