97 candidates express interest for JP ticket

97 candidates have expressed interest in contesting for the upcoming Parliamentary election on Jumhooree Party (JP) ticket.

Spokesperson for the coalition partner, Ali Solih revealed that candidacy was opened for the application at the 125th council meeting of the party. While the deadline for application expired yesterday, 97 candidates applied to represent the party in the election.

Ali Solih revealed that a decision has not yet been made on a strategy to tackle the election, although party council will make a decision soon. A special committee established for the task is currently validating and verifying the applications.

"The number of applicants may increase or decrease, as we also accepted online applications", said Ali Solih.

It is still undecided whether the party will conduct a primary.

The coalition parties had previously agreed to contest both the parliamentary election and the local council elections through the coalition in order to ensure maximum number of seats.

Main ruling party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and JP remained at loggerheads over contesting the upcoming parliamentary elections through the same coalition which saw them win the presidential elections in November last year.

In an agreement signed between the coalition partners ahead of the presidential election last years, it was decided that MDP will contest for 35 seats while Jumhoory Party, Maumoon Reform Movement and Adhaalath Party will contest for 22, 17 and 13 seats respectively.

However, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) decided at its National Council to contest for all 87 constituencies in the parliamentary election, despite the existing coalition agreement to divide up the seats among themselves, triggering dispute among the coalition.

The four leaders of the coalition have sat down several times with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in attempt to resolve the dispute. However, an agreement has not been reached thus far.

Gasim last week threatened to sever ties with main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) saying his party was ready to negotiate with other political parties to form a new coalition.

However, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said he is confident that Gasim would remain a leader of the ruling coalition.

"Gasim is a coalition partner. There's no doubt about that. I don't see him agreeing a coalition with Yameen. I don't think that's happening. I'm confident of that," Solih stressed at a press conference on Thursday.