Former Maldivian President, Mohamed Nasheed, who is serving a 13 year jail sentence has decided to sit the 2018 Maldivian election out. The decision was met favorably by party members and other parties interested in Maldives as a legal road block exists preventing the popular presidential candidate from participating in the election. In the wake of this decision, the MDP candidacy falls onto the backup MDP been pushing for some time now, Ibrahim Solih (Iboo) who has maintained a fierce loyalty to the party throughout the rough times
President Nasheed (Anni), was elected in 2008 bringing an end to the 30 year old hold on power by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Former rivals, they have been forced to cowork together after the later was thrown out of his own party by the current ruling president. Coincidentally (or expectedly) President Maumoon is also serving a jail sentence. President Nasheed has been living abroad in UK after being granted asylum and had maintained that he will be running for presidency. His insistence had seemingly strained the makeshift coalition in place between Jumhooree Party and Adhaalath Party. The latest decision have cooled some flaring tempers in the coalition camp, with a concrete plan in place now. A push to form a coalition government for 1.5 year seems to be in the talks and if it eventuates, will lead to changes in legislation that allow President Nasheed to run.
The fear, of course, is that any new candidates by the parties would face some form of jail sentence which will prevent them from running. It has been a common theme in the political scene of Maldives for the past 5 years. The decision by President Nasheed also comes at a time when Election Commision had ruled out the MDP primary as illegal, a primary which saw a landslide win for the only candidate.