Shahid steps forward as Solih steps back: MDP Presidency takes a new turn

19 Feb 2024 | 21:09
Former UNGA President Abdulla Shahid and Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

In a surprising twist within the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), former Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has emerged as the exclusive candidate for the MDP presidency.

This development comes in the aftermath of the resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed in June 2023, coupled with the conclusion of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's term and his subsequent electoral defeat in November 2023.

The MDP presidency, left vacant amid these transitions, now sees Abdulla Shahid stepping into a pivotal role for the party.

Background: The Leadership Vacuum

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has been grappling with a leadership vacuum since the resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed in June 2023.

The temporary leadership was assumed by former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, filling the void until a suitable successor could be determined.

However, the unexpected turn of events began with President Solih's loss in the November 17, 2023, presidential election, leading to the end of his term and subsequent loss of the MDP leadership.

He was later re-elected to this position on a national assembly held in AA.Ukulhas on November 23.

Shahid's Strategic Moves

In response to the shifting political landscape, Abdulla Shahid, former Foreign Minister, took proactive steps to ensure a smooth transition.

Shahid initiated discussions with former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and other leaders of MDP about his interest in presidency and expressed his willingness to step back from the MDP presidency if President Solih decided to compete.

The discussions, held with key party members, laid the groundwork for Shahid's potential candidacy and highlighted the need for unity within the party.

From these discussions he also garnered support from key party members, former President Mohamed Solih and Chairperson of MDP Fayyaz Ibrahim.

Candidacy Announcement: Shahid's Vision for MDP

Amidst the discussions, Abdulla Shahid officially announced his candidacy for the MDP presidency through a post on the social media platform X.

Seeking support from MDP members, Shahid emphasized the party's need for renewed vigor and unity to propel the country forward and fulfill the aspirations of all Maldivians.

Seeking strength from Allah SWA, I have decided to put forward my candidature for the Presidency of Maldivian Democratic Party. MDP needs to once again come out with renewed vigor and energy, united to take this country forward, to achieve the hopes and aspirations of all Maldivians. I seek the support of all MDP Members in this journey

 stated Shahid in his post

Support and Assurance: Shahid Uncontested

Discussions with MDP Chairperson Fayyaz Ismail and former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih confirmed their support for Shahid's candidacy.

Sources close to Shahid revealed that with immense support from leading party members, he is poised to be the sole candidate for the presidency.

Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India, known for its historical ties with MDP, has expressed significant interest in Shahid's candidacy, with Indian politicians endorsing his potential presidency before the upcoming parliament elections.

Concerns and Reassurances: A Delicate Balance

The sudden change in the election schedule, initially slated for after Ramadan and the parliament elections, has sparked discussions within MDP circles.

Chairperson Fayyaz justified the decision to prepone the election to March, citing the critical role Shahid plays in securing funds for the parliament elections.

Some members expressed concerns about Shahid potentially taking full control of the party, but Fayyaz reassured them that such a scenario would not unfold.

The Uncontested Path Ahead: MDP Presidency on March 2

As the presidency election approaches on March 2, Abdulla Shahid stands uncontested, marking a significant chapter in MDP's leadership.

The question now lingers on whether Shahid will wield full control akin to former President Nasheed's tenure and how the dynamic will unfold with Fayyaz Ismail serving as the Chairperson.

Abdulla Shahid, a seasoned Maldivian politician, previously served as the President of the 76th United Nations General Assembly and as the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Maldives from 2018 to 2023.

The stage is set for one of the strongest political leaders of the Maldives to lead MDP into a new era, with no obstacles in sight for Abdulla Shahid.