Ex-Foreign Minister Shahid Becomes Maldivian Democratic Party Chief Unopposed


(MENAFN- NewsIn) Male, February 21: (Maldives Republic): Abdulla Shahid, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, is set to assume the presidency of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). Shahid's ascension comes uncontested, as he was the sole candidate to register his intention to run for the presidency by the application deadline.

The leadership vacuum within the MDP was created following the resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed on 21 June 2023. Since then, the party has been under the interim leadership of former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, whom the MDP National Council appointed.

The MDP confirmed in a statement that Shahid was the only contender for the presidency. This development signifies a shift from the party's erstwhile protocol of conducting a referendum, even in the event of a single candidacy. Notably, the party's charter was amended in 2022 to dispense with a referendum requirement when only one candidate is in the fray for the party's presidency.

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Shahid, a close aide and one of the closest cabinet ministers of President Solih during his presidency, has been a pivotal figure within the party. He has been a staunch political and judicial reform advocate, even facing incarceration for his activism.

Shahid's tenure as the Maldives' Foreign Minister under the Solih administration was marked by a significant foreign policy achievement: securing the presidency of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Shahid's extensive political career also includes serving as the foreign minister during the administration of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom from 23 August 2007 to 10 November 2008. He served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Vaavu Atoll, Keyodhoo, and North Henveyru constituencies, in addition to being an MP appointed by the President. As the Keyodhoo MP, Shahid also served as the speaker of parliament.

Shahid had been a reviled figure among MDP members until recent times for providing“legitimacy” to the heavily contested transfer of power in February 2012, after weeks of street protests and a police mutiny forced out the MDP's first government, led by former President Nasheed. Shahid, who was serving as the parliament speaker at the time, presided over the ceremony to swear in Nasheed's vice president, Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan, as the new president. The MDP has consistently maintained that President Nasheed was ousted in a coup d'etat.

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