JP denies decision to contest all parliament seats

Jumhoory Party (JP) on Tuesday moved quickly to refute reports that it had decided to contest for all the seats in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The ruling coalition has remained at loggerheads over contesting the elections through the alliance after Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) earlier this month had backed his decision to contest for all parliamentary seats.

After party leaders along with incumbent president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih failed to reach a consensus, JP late Sunday had opened all 87 constituencies for members interested in running for parliament.

However, JP spokesperson Ali Solih insisted that the council had not made such a decision on Sunday.

"We only asked eligible members interested in running for parliament to inform us before January 25, 2019," Solih stressed adding that the council had not even decided on the constituencies the party would be contesting next year.

The decision made MDP appears to be in direct violation of the agreement signed by the four parties of the coalition before its victory in September's presidential elections.

Before the coalition led by its candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had pulled off a stunning upset in September's presidential elections, the four main parties had agreed to contest the parliamentary elections through the coalition.

It was widely believed that the coalition would divide up the seats in accordance with the same percentage that political posts were assigned to each party.

The leaders had agreed that MDP would get 40 percent, with 25 percent business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim's Jumhoory Party (JP) and 20 percent for former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The other main party in the coalition, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) would receive the smallest slice with 15 percent.

According to a copy of the agreement obtained by AVAS which was signed by MDP chairperson Hassan Latheef and Solih, the coalition had agreed to allocate 35 seats for MDP, 22 for JP, 20 for Gayoom's Maumoon Reform Movement (MRM) and 13 for AP.