Running mates are now almost in place for the presidential candidates who have announced their candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections. Maumoon first announced his running mate, Thasmeen Ali, who is very much of a loyalist to him and therfore a shadow to him. Then it was Gasim who made the announcement, Ahmed Ali Sawad, a PhD student who is new to the country and the reform and democracy movement, who simply makes Gasim himself the candidate and the running mate. It was followed by Hassan Saeed, who chose his friend and colleague Dr. Shaheed to run with him, putting forth more of an equal mate. Finally Anni announced Dr. Waheed, “the earlier reformist” who is “a well-know figure” and in a way a senior to him.
It would be interesting to see how the choice and the timing of the announcement of running mates affect the pole position of the candidates. The reality is that Maldivian political demography has matured, and however much a political figure is well-knowN or popular, is not any guarantee that will make it easier to sell him for a pole position – not anymore. It is those who can identify with, and merge with the pulse of the grassroots that would get votes. This has been very clear from the pictures emerging from the ever dynamic political landscape within the country, last three weeks or so. Though popularity and money will play a part, it would be substance and conviction that would lead the vote, in my opinion. I believe the will of the people will prevail, and that it would be an informed and calculated decision by the majority of the people. Who will win, depends on who can convince the people of this and build momentum upto October 8th.
Anni and Maumoon are believed in the pole position for now followed by Gasim and Hassan. Yet, the fast paced momentum of changes makes uncertainty the certainty of the day.