Maldives electoral watchdog accepts Solih's candidacy

Maldives' electoral watchdog on Saturday officially the candidacy of opposition alliance presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih for the upcoming presidential elections.

The veteran lawmaker become the first candidate to officially enter the presidential race in September after he filed his candidacy on Thursday.

Solih flanked by his running mate - opposition Jumhoory Party (JP) lawmaker Faisal Naseem went to the Elections Commission on foot accompanied by dozen of opposition supporters and senior officials.

The commission needed to decide on Solih's candidacy within 48 hours which was scheduled to end a quarter past 11am on Saturday.

An hour before the deadline, Elections Commission announced that it had accepted the candidacy of Solih and his running mate. The officially confirmation has also been handed to the opposition alliance candidate, the commission said.

Elections Commission had said the deadline to file candidacy for the crunch elections on September 23 would remain open until August 4 before extending to August 10.

Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen would be contesting for a second term while former home minister Umar Naseer had publicly announced his intention to contest as an independent candidate.

But the duo are yet to file their respective candidacies.

MDP had 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.

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.

Gasim's Jumhoory Party (JP) along with Imran's religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) have already come out in support of Solih as the opposition alliance candidate for the elections.

According to the long awaited opposition agreement, the presidential candidate would be Solih while the running mate would be nominated by JP which was later given to Kaashidhoo lawmaker Faisal Naseem.