After completing a purge in the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the former President, Mohamed Nasheed, has begun campaigning for the presidential election primaries.
The dates for the election are yet to be announced. The political parties in the Maldives, a country of about 1,200 islands, are yet to arrive at a consensus on when the elections should be held.
After a few recent set backs, including two electoral reverses, Mr. Nasheed had decided it was time to reorganise the party. Last week, the MDP removed its president, Ibrahim Didi, and deputy, Alhan Fahmy, at an emergency meeting of the party's National Congress at Dharubaaruge.
Mr. Didi was seen as a moderate within the MDP with whom the present Waheed government had held discussions on various issues, including that of MDP joining the national unity government.
“95 per cent of the MDP members at the national council voted for the motion to remove the president and vice-president of the party,” said Hamid Abdul Gafoor, spokesperson, International Affairs, MDP.
Two sitting MDP MPs had lost their seats and a third, Shifaq Mufeed, joined Mr. Nasheed's arch enemy, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's party, the PPM. But “two or three” MPs deserting the party should not be viewed as a problem, MDP said, adding that when the MDP came to power in 2008, things were far worse. “At that time, we only had a handful of MPs [in 2008]. The party now is solidly behind Nasheed,” said Mr. Gafoor.
On Mr. Nasheed hitting the campaign trail, Mr. Gafoor said Mr. Nasheed had launched his campaign in the southern atoll a few weeks ago.