JP council grants Gasim sole power to choose candidates

Ruling coalition partner, Jumhooree Party (JP) has decided to give full choice of choosing candidates to represent the party in the parliamentary polls to party leader, Gasim Ibrahim.

The party's council decided on Wednesday to allow Gasim Ibrahim to choose their candidates at the special council meeting held to discuss the parliamentary election,

97 candidates have expressed interest in contesting for the parliamentary election on JP tickets for 61 different constituencies. However, the party leader announced at the council meeting that the party will contest for 35 constituencies.

Gasim also decided that tickets will be awarded to the current JP members in the 18th parliament, as well as the 12 MPs who were disqualified from their seats by the Elections Commission for defecting from then ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.

A decision regarding the candidates for the remaining constituencies will be made within the week, while it has been revealed that all leadership members of the party including Gasim himself will be contesting in the elections.

The popularity of a candidate as well as their education and experience will be considered when choosing candidates, said Gasim.

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 Jumhooree 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.

Therefore, JP has now decided to contest the primaries separate from MDP.