High-stakes presidential primaries are held by the Maldives' ruling party.
In a primary that will be held by the Maldives' ruling party, current President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will face off against Mohamed Nasheed, a former ally and the country's first democratically elected leader.
Nasheed framed the election as a choice between autocracy and democracy during the bitterly contested vote on Saturday. He also accused Solih of vote manipulation and bribery, both of which he rejects.
Four years after Maldivians ousted former President Abdulla Yameen, who had oversaw a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent, including by jailing or forcing nearly all of his political rivals into exile, arresting Supreme Court judges, and shutting down critical and independent media, animosity between the two has raised concerns of new unrest in the well-known Indian Ocean tourist destination.
Some worry that the vote could cause the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which is now in power, to split up before the presidential poll in September because Nasheed has yet to say whether or not he would support Solih if he lost.
The editor of the well-known news website Mihaaru, Fazeena Ahmed, declared that "The Maldives has never seen a more acrimonious primary." The campaigns of Nasheed and Solih have both gone too far, according to her.
Ahmed continued, "The two parties are currently at a position where it is questionable if they will be able to reconcile and work together for the upcoming presidential election." Mudslinging and unrelenting insults are to blame.
What will happen to MDP after this primary, she said, is the question on everyone's mind.
Indeed, there are a lot on the line.
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