JP picks lawmaker Faisal Naseem as opposition running mate

Opposition Jumhoory Party (JP) late Friday named Lawmaker Fasial Naseem as the opposition alliance running mate for the upcoming presidential elections.

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

Two senior party lawmakers and two of its deputy leaders had officially sought the nomination which was put to a secret vote at the 41 member JP council sit-down on Friday.

It was tightly run race between the two lawmakers MP Ali Hussain and MP Faisal Naseem as the latter edged the elections by a single vote. Kendhoo lawmaker Ali Hussain received 14 votes while the Kaashidhoo MP Faisal Naseem shaded the elections with 15 in favour.

JP leader Gasim Ibrahim had initially backed Faisal Naseem as the running mate but had withdrawn his support hours before the vote. MDP reportedly had favoured Ali Hussain but self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed had also declined support for any candidate and left it up to the JP council.

Speaking to local reporters after the election, Faisal Naseem vowed to work with Solih to win the presidential elections in September and restore democracy in the Maldives.

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 finally agreed on nominating a single candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.