Ibra has been trying to address issues and bring change from within the framework of the parliament and the constitutional assembly, and has a high-level of support among discerning Maldivians. Moreover, he is easily the best orator amidst the "reformists" and "politicians" that have cropped up in post-Eavan Naseem Maldives.
Ibra beat Munnavar and Zaki to become MDP's first president, but was later isolated within the party due to differences with its chairman and populist trends. Some have commented that Gayoom's two ex-ministers cajoled Anni into making things so difficult for Ibra that he was eventually forced to leave.
But Ibra's commitment to human rights, particularly gender equality, has been questioned. When an MDP member introduced a bill banning women from running for presidency, Ibra chose to play safe by voting neutral. People who have worked with him claim that he considers women inferior to men; he has reportedly remarked to people that he believes women are unsuitable to be the leader of a country because they are "easier to manipulate".
Ibra has also repeatedly opposed the freedom of religion. Islam, he has publicly stated, must remain state religion, and the country's growing and, largely, closeted non-Muslims are understandably concerned about such attitudes coming from a leader of a party that calls itself social "liberal" party.
But with the right campaign, Ibra could well win the hearts and minds of a population not only disillusioned with Gayoom's dictatorship, but fed up of its fragmented opposition.