An aerial view of the city which was added from half natural half artificial Hulhumale Island in Male, Maldives on June 28, 2022, as the threat of rising seas is leading to a new form of architecture like the one that floats. Artificial projects are implemented in the islands to solve the sea level increase due to global warming. Sebnem Coskun / Anadolu Agency (Photo by Sebnem Coskun / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)
(AFP) – Seven lower-profile candidates registered on Monday to challenge Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at next month’s elections.
The independent Elections Commission said a total of eight candidates, including 61-year-old Solih, have filed nominations for the September 9 poll.
The Indian Ocean nation, better known for its luxury tourism, embraced multi-party democracy in 2008 after having a one-party since ending its status as a British protectorate in 1965.
The jailed main opposition leader Abdulla Yameen was disqualified from the election because of his criminal conviction in December for corruption and money laundering while president between 2013 and 2018.
However, Yameen’s Progressive Party of Maldives backed a proxy candidate — former housing minister and current mayor of Male, Mohamed Muizzu, 45.
The current Speaker and former president, Mohamed Nasheed, 56, was expected to enter the race after parting ways with Solih, his former ally, last month.
However, Nasheed, an internationally recognised climate activist, was a no-show when nominations closed Monday, leaving Solih with a relatively easier run for his second term in office.
Among those in the running is prominent businessman Qasim Ibrahim, 71, who leads the smaller Jumhooree party and was speaker of parliament for about seven months until May 2019.
There were no women candidates.
Just over 280,000 men and women over the age of 18 are eligible to vote.
If no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off between the first two is scheduled for September 30.
© Agence France-Presse