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Maldives: Kulhudhuffushi South MP Nasheed - a potential candidate in 2013?

Male', Maldives.
Kulhudhuffushi South MP Mohamed Nasheed today responded to attacks on his integrity by President Nasheed yesterday. MP Nasheed said today that President Nasheed's Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair (Juha) must substantiate his statement that MP Nasheed was costing the country over 400 million rufiya due to his public statements on MDP's foreign investment projects. Juha (the elder brother of Tourism Minister Zulfa and a known drug addict) had levelled this accusation against MP Nasheed at a press conference held yesterday at the President's Office.

MP Nasheed said, that his stand on foreign investments was that Maldivians should be given equal opportunity for investments. He said that the current MDP Government's policies on foreign investment made Maldivians second class citizens, by closing investment doors to them while giving those opportunities to foreigners. "This does not in any way mean that I am xenophobic, nor that I hate foreigners", the MP said.

MP Nasheed, a respected lawyer in his own right, was very active in proposing various social reform bills in the Parliament, until President Nasheed's propaganda station MNBC One aired audio tapes of a discussion between him and Jumhooree Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim. In what was a private conversation between two individuals, MP Nasheed had requested a financial loan from Gasim Ibrahim. The attack on MP Nasheed at that time was due to his vocal opposition to President Nasheed and his militant party MDP in Parliament. Since then, MP Nasheed has been relatively quiet although standing up for his constituency and citizen rights in various parliamentary debates.

MP Nasheed, a highly popular orator and skilled lawyer, was at one time expected to be ex-President Gayyom's running mate for the presidential elections in 2008. However, he was out manouvered (as were all other contenders for the position) by Ahmed Thasmeen Ali. Following Gayoom's defeat, Nasheed distanced himself from his mentor and chose to contest for his parliamentary seat as an independent. Rumours were rife at one stage that he would be either Gasim Ibrahim's or Dr. Hassan Saeed's running mate for 2013. This is possibly one reason why MP Nasheed has come onto the radar of President Nasheed's front line attack troops such as Juha and DO Sappe (Ahmed Shafeeq Moosa, notorious for his slanderous and libellous online rag, Dhivehi Observer).

MP Nasheed's counter attack against President Nasheed appears to indicate that he has not exited the presidential race yet. Nasheed's independence and record in parliament stand him in good stead amongst the public. A charismatic educated man with the oratory skills of past Maldivian leaders, MP Nasheed has the potential to build up a substantial public following were he to come out now. The fact that he has remained outside the political bickering between President Nasheed, ex-President Nasheed and DRP leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali may make MP Nasheed a very attractive choice for Maldivians in 2013. It remains to be seen which candidate he would partner or lead.

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