Politics

‘Interim pres will not be outwardly political, but widely accepted’: opposition

MP Mahloof with former President Mohamed Nasheed

MP Mahloof (R) with former President Mohamed Nasheed

The opposition coalition will nominate an interim president who is not outwardly politically active, but it will be someone who all the parties will accept, Galolhu South MP Ahmed Mahloof said on Sunday night.

Speaking to the opposition-aligned television channel Raajje TV, MP Mahloof revealed that the opposition is not trying to pave way for former president Mohamed Nasheed or Jumhoory Party (JP)’s leader Qasim Ibrahim to come to power, but rather to put forth a candidate who will prioritise justice and national interest.

He said that the interim president would be an individual who respects law and order and justly carry out reforms that would be accepted by the Maldivian public.

The candidate, MP Mahloof told Raajje TV, will not necessarily be someone who “makes passionate speeches behind podiums at political rallies.”

Elaborating further on the objectives of the interim presidency, he said that reforming the judiciary would be amongst its highest priorities. The opposition MP said that it would work towards establishing an independent judiciary, whilst also ensuring that the independent institutions can carry out their duties without bias.

He said that the interim government would try to achieve set goals within a certain timeframe so that a free and fair election can be held where all parties can compete.

“In this election, former president Nasheed would be able to compete, JP’s Qasim, MP Faris [Maumoon] and Colonel [Mohamed] Nazim would also be able to compete, if they wanted to,” MP Mahloof said.

MP Mahloof also said that if a member party of the opposition coalition wanted to nominate its own candidate other than the interim candidate for the presidential election slated for 2018, they would be free to do so.

However, he noted how multi-party elections always go for the second round of voting, and that the opposition would have to form a coalition again anyway. He stressed the importance of the opposition coalition sticking together throughout the election period.

Reminiscing the past couple of years of President Abdulla Yameen’s regime, MP Mahloof said that the opposition has had bitter experiences and that they had suffered through “every trial and tribulation possible” over the last four years.

He stressed the importance of establishing an interim presidency so that the Maldives can be more politically stable in the long run.

Electing an interim president was first suggested by Nasheed during main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s national congress on Saturday. The former president had said that he does not believe that a free and fair election could be held, given the current political situation in the Maldives. Therefore, he had suggested that the joint opposition nominate a single candidate who will safeguard democratic values, restore the functionality of independent institutions and allow for a fair election to be held later.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) was quick to respond to Nasheed’s call on Sunday when its deputy leader and Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem Abdullah took to Twitter to say that the Maldivian citizens do not want an interim president. “We beat [Nasheed] on February 7, 2012. God willing, he will be defeated again,” MP Abdul Raheem had said.

PPM’s parliamentary group leader and Villimale MP Ahmed Nihan also took a jab at the former president via Twitter, saying, “No matter how I do the math, the outcome is not favourable for Nasheed and he will not be able to compete in the 2018 presidential election.”

MP Nihan had even indirectly quoted Nasheed saying that there is a “scientific guarantee” about him not competing in the election.

Nasheed had told MDP’s national congress that there is no “scientific guarantee” that any one candidate or opposition party could secure the majority in the presidential election and therefore, the candidate that will contest in the election should be selected after narrowing down potential candidates from the joint opposition coalition.

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