Maldivian opposition parties are in talks about fielding a â€˜unityâ€™ candidate who is not a politician for next yearâ€™s election.
Spokesman MP Ahmed Mahloof told the Maldives Independent that talks were already ongoing about who could represent the opposition.
â€œI think at the moment we are discussing on the possibility of fielding a unified candidate in the first round itself. We already have an understanding that any opposition candidate in the second round will have the backing of the whole opposition,â€ Mahloof said from Colombo.
Mahloof said the proposal was to field a popular figure. He declined to give details.
But ruling party MP Ahmed Nihan tweeted the candidate would be the former Elections Commission president Fuwad Thowfeek.
Former President Mohamed Nasheedâ€™s call for the allied opposition parties to back a candidate who would serve as an interim leader and pave the way for new elections also fueled speculation with many opposition supporters heaping praise on Fuwad on social media.
But Fuwad â€“ who was controversially dismissed as EC president by the Supreme Court in March 2014 â€“ said he had not been approached by any party.
â€œI donâ€™t understand why PPM MPs are saying it. I havenâ€™t been approached by any leader or any political party on the issue of the presidential candidate from the opposition parties. Therefore, it is news to me too,â€ he said.
He said he would welcome such a move if it had the blessing of opposition leaders.
â€œI would say that I would accept and agree to become a candidate if the four leaders, namely president Maumoon, president Nasheed, Qasim and Sheikh Imran agree and approve me as their candidate. I would not run as a candidate if I donâ€™t have their backing and full support.â€
Mahloof was optimistic about the opposition securing a landslide majority in 2018.
â€œGod willing, we will take 200,000 votes. We expect around 260,000 people to vote. From that, how can Amjad and Sulaiman [Elections Commission members] fraudulently change 100,000 votes? They canâ€™t.â€
He also had a warning for the countryâ€™s incumbent leader.
â€œMy advice to President Yameen is to stay abroad during the election. Otherwise we will arrest him. I am saying it very clearly, President Yameen needs to be arrested and jailed. After the tyranny of his regime, Maldivians want justice.â€