Maldives’ ex-home minister confident of upset in primary against pres

Home Minister Umar Naseer with president Yameen at the official ceremony to mark the 83rd Anniversary of Maldives Police Service. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Home Minister Umar Naseer with president Yameen at the official ceremony to mark the 83rd Anniversary of Maldives Police Service. MIHAARU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Former Home minister Umar Naseer Sunday expressed confidence of pulling off an upset against his former boss and incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in the ruling party presidential primary.

Umar had announced his intention to run in the 2018 presidential elections in a move to counter president Yameen’s own hopes for re-election, immediately after stepping down in July.

Umar lost out on the presidential primary to Yameen who eventually went on to win the 2013 elections.

He was subsequently suspended from Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) after publicly criticizing Yameen.

Umar had supported Jumhooree Party (JP) candidate and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim in the presidential elections and secured a cabinet post on a JP slot.

The outspoken Umar who has since been rallying support for his presidential bid said his support base with PPM remained strong.

Umar who has always accused Yameen of rigging the 2013 primary, insisted that he would not allow history to repeat itself this time around.

“There will be no cheating this time. I will not let it happen,” Umar told Mihaaru on Sunday.

Several top PPM officials, meanwhile had petitioned to gift the party’s presidential ticket to president Yameen for his re-election in 2018 without a primary.

However, PPM leader and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had rejected the petition which has led to a rift between the two Gayoom brothers.

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