Former president of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, who is currently in exile, has abandoned plans to contest the upcoming presidential election because of legal obstacles.
Taking to Twitter, Nasheed, the leader of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), on Friday said that he decided to withdraw from the race after his country's election commission refused to recognize his victory in a recent party primary.
He said, "In light of the fact that @ElectionsMv have written to MDP saying that I can't contest in the upcoming Presidential Elections, I have decided to relinquish my Presidential ticket. I hope to do this at MDP's 3rd Congress. The EC's decision is illegal and they must be sanctioned."
In light of the fact that @ElectionsMv have written to MDP saying that I can’t contest in the upcoming Presidential Elections, I have decided to relinquish my Presidential ticket. I hope to do this at MDP’s 3rd Congress. The EC’s decision is illegal and they must be sanctioned.— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) June 29, 2018
On Friday, he said that another presidential candidate will be named in his place during a meeting of the MDP Congress on Saturday.
According to media reports, senior MDP member Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is tipped to be named as the new presidential candidate of the MDP.
Meanwhile, incumbent President Yameen Abdul Gayoom is expected to win the September election unopposed, as all of his challengers are either in jail or in exile.
Nasheed is a popular leader in The Maldives, having been at the forefront of a pro-democracy campaign for over two decades, but is disqualified from participation in the presidential election because of a 13-year prison sentence.
He has been convicted on widely criticized terrorism charges. The international community and his supporters believes that due process of law has not been followed to justify these alleged violations.
Maldives became a multiparty democracy in 2008 and Nasheed became the first president elected in a free election.
He resigned four years into his presidency amid public protests over his order to arrest a top judge.
He lost the 2013 presidential election to Yameen, who has since rolled back much of the country's democratic gains.