Last month when Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed was in India, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was busy with the country's citizens.

The former president's visit was an official trip with a label of an 'unofficial trip'. It was to attend the wedding of his friend's son. This topic has been brought to the fore due to the current political situation in the Maldives and the influence that it has on other countries. Although the details of Nasheed's trip were not disclosed, one image from his official photos revealed a clear picture.

The story behind the scene:

The President is currently working on his way to securing the support of the people for his upcoming presidential run. On the other hand, Nasheed is playing his own game of solitaire. This is expected to serve as a prelude to the upcoming presidential and MDP primary elections. While the former president is planning on having a game with foreign donors, the current president is keeping his own game local.

Maldivian politicians have a long history of playing games with foreign dignitaries. The past, particularly Nasheed's time as the president, is not far from being forgotten. He has been known to seek assistance from European and Indian countries whenever he gets in trouble. Because of his commitment to upholding the values and norms of his foreign friends, Nasheed has been regarded well by them.

One day after Nasheed's arrival, Abdullah Shahid, the former President of the UN General Assembly and the Foreign Minister of the Maldives, arrived in India. Although they were on an official visit, the two were with Dr. Jaya Shankar, India's Foreign Minister. Despite Nasheed's claims that they discussed the situation in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, it is clear that he is rounding up allies for his political activities.

Although India has been trying to influence the country's domestic affairs, its efforts increased during the presidency of Nasheed in 2012. The rise of India's influence has made the Maldives unable to manage its debts. Through its aid program, India has been able to participate in various institutions in the Maldives. It is also committed to ensuring that its regional and domestic interests are protected.

The government of the Maldives is committed to becoming an India-first government. However, due to the various compulsions that it has to meet, it is now forced to go beyond India country and go as far as China. This is why President Solih is compelled to make these changes to conserve his power.

President Solih meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Presidential Palace

Given the MDP's internal dynamics, Nasheed is aware that he will lose the presidential primary, as much as the general public is aware of it. Nasheed knows that whoever becomes the next president will have an advantage over him and will be able to use this position to improve their lives. Hence, to bridge the gap between himself and the president, Nasheed decided to nominate a third candidate. This was a clear indication that he believes that you cannot defeat an adversary on your own. Abdullah Shahid, the Foreign Minister, was named as the third candidate.

Abdullah Shahid and Mohamed Nasheed

Although he has not officially declared his intention, many believe that he will be using his experience as the President of the UNGA to gain an advantage over the other candidates. It is believed that he will be able to do this due to Nasheed's support for him in the current political situation within the party.

A graphic symbolizing the political situation in Maldives / Graphics: The Press

It is believed that if the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) chooses another candidate to replace President Abdullah Yameen after he is convicted on charges related to his illegal activities, support from Sheikh Imran and Gasim will be extended to the coalition. Neither Maumoon nor Qasim nor any other leader will approach Yameen, as the pain of the promises that were inflicted on those leaders during President Yameen’s presidency is still on their minds and is evident in their words.

With this fact, the big question to be raised is whether former President Nasheed can call his cards by 2023.