Incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and seven other candidates have registered to run in the Maldives’ presidential elections next month, the island archipelago’s fourth since becoming a multiparty democracy in 2008.
Solih is expected to face stiff competition after democracy campaigner and ex-President Mohamed Nasheed split off from the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party. Nasheed’s new party, The Democrats, nominated the lawmaker Ilyas Labeeb as its candidate ahead of Monday’s deadline to register for the Sept. 9 election.
The main opposition People’s National Congress has nominated Mohamed Muiz after its leader Abdullah Yameen, also a former president, was deemed ineligble to run by the Supreme Court on Sunday because he is serving a jail sentence for corruption.
Among the other candidates are two former ministers — Mohamed Nazim and Umar Naseer— as well as prominent businessman Qasim Ibrahim and Faris Maumoon, a son of the Indian Ocean nation’s 30-year strongman ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Located southwest of Sri Lanka and known for its high-end island resorts, the Maldives launched multiparty presidential elections in 2008 under a new constitution after the long-time ruler was compelled to allow political reforms.
Nasheed was a key member of the pro-democracy struggle leading up to the 2008 election when he became the country’s first freely elected president, but he was forced to resign in 2012 because of public protests. He lost the 2013 election to Yameen and became ineligible to contest in the election five years later because of a jail term, paving the way for Solih’s candidacy.