The Jumhooree Party (JP) leader, Qasim Ibrahim, has officially been handed the party’s ticket for the upcoming presidential election at an event heavy on promises but low on turnout. Friday night’s event, held at Alimas Carnival area in Male’, saw Qasim outlining key pledges from the party’s manifesto without providing details on how they would be fulfilled.

Qasim, who also serves as the MP for Maamigili constituency, stated that if he were elected president, he would raise the standard of living and create a peaceful and pleasant environment for all citizens, enabling them to lead dignified and fulfilling lives. Notable pledges made by Qasim included increasing the monthly allowance for the elderly from the current MVR 5,000 to MVR 7,000, establishing a referral system to expedite specialist healthcare appointments within seven days, supporting small businesses to create 100 millionaires within five years, and combatting corruption to establish a government with the lowest corruption levels in recent history. However, he did not disclose the specific strategies and mechanisms for achieving these objectives.

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The JP’s rally, scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m., faced a significant setback as a considerable number of seats remained unoccupied. The event commenced over an hour later than planned, further dampening the overall atmosphere.

Party workers remove empty chairs as low attendance prompts adjustments in seating arrangement (Photo: Dhiyares)

The event took place against the backdrop of the JP’s concerted efforts to mobilise support in preparation for the upcoming presidential election. The party’s decision to nominate Qasim directly, foregoing the customary primary selection process, has come under criticism and raises questions about adherence to democratic principles within the party.

Meanwhile, the presidential race is intensifying as multiple parties vie for the country’s highest office, including the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Maldives National Party (MNP), and the newly formed The Democrats. Notable independent candidates, such as former Attorney General Dr Mohamed Munavvar and former Home Minister Umar Naseer, have also expressed their intention to run.